Research

Urbanization ecology studies
As cities expand and develop throughout the world, they growingly affect wildlife by destroying or fundamentally altering habitats. We have been working extensively with house sparrows to explore how habitat urbanization influences the birds’ behaviour, body condition, and reproductive success. Currently, we are expanding this research to other songbird species to study the role of behavioral flexibility in birds’ adaptation to urban environments.

Behavioral ecology studies
Using our main study species, the house sparrow, we are addressing diverse questions of behavioral ecology. How do environmental and individual traits influence social behaviours in flocks? What are the determinants and fitness consequences of behavioral characteristics such as problem solving and personality? We combine lab experiments and observations of free-living birds to find the answers.

Phylogenetic comparative studies
We are conducting phylogenetically controlled comparisons of avian species to investigate evolutionary hypotheses about reproductive and life-history strategies. Our topics include sexual selection and parental care, signaling functions of plumage coloration, evolutionary ecology of endocrine physiology, and adaptation to global climatic change.