Research

Our research focuses on the ecological consequences of individual variation in behavior for individuals, populations, and communities. We use a variety of invertebrate models, especially social spiders, to address these topics. More deeply, our research considers the role of individual variation in structuring patterns of task allocation within societies and how these patterns impact the long-term performance of groups in contrasting environments. In non-social systems, we consider how variation in behavior impacts species interactions within and across trophic levels. These studies have been conducted in a variety of both terrestrial and marine systems. Finally, our most recent endeavors are beginning to integrate whole-colony physiology metrics and circadian rhythms to explore the degree to which colony activity patterns are themselves the product of adaptive evolution, and whether contrasting social structures may favor differences in individual and colony-level activity patterns. This research involves extensive pharmacological manipulations, respirometry and colony-level behavioral assays