Behavior

Behavioral ecology is concerned with the way that the ecological, environmental, developmental, genetic, and social context influences the way that individuals respond to stimuli and the way that such behavioral responses ultimately affect organismal fitness. Behavioral ecologists use both laboratory and field based techniques to determine the effects of variation in behavior, but always recognize that understanding the evolution of behavior requires knowledge of the natural ecological and social context of behavior. The discipline represents a nexus among population ecology, evolutionary biology, and animal behavior. Because the effectiveness of behaviors depends on organismal function, understanding the effects of behaviors can involve studies of biomechanics, physiology, gene expression, and neural biology. Behavioral ecology also has a long tradition of using mathematical models to predict the fitness effects of differences in behavior.

Behavioral ecologists in EEMB have studied diverse topics, including behavioral responses to climate change and habitat fragmentation, studies of foraging and energy use, dynamic energy budgets, and optimal control models.

Faculty

My research has mostly focused on how trophic interactions and productivity shape community organization across a variety of different ecosystems including coral reefs, rivers, tall grass prairies, and African savannas.

Understanding the ecology of communities and ecosystems in a rapidly changing world.

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Our lab addresses the question of how complex traits originate during evolution. We primarily study invertebrate visual systems and eyes, addressing questions like, when did a particular phenotype evolve? When did the components of that phenotype evolve? Where did those components come from? What evolutionary processes and mechanisms were involved?

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The Proulx lab is interested in the fundamental processes that govern evolutionary change. We use mathematical and computational approaches to understand evolutionary dynamics.

Behavioral ecology, social organization, community ecology, eco-evolutionary dynamics.

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Genetic basis of evolution; speciation, adaptive significance of sexual recombination, intersexual antagonistic coevolution, Interlocus Contest Evolution (ICE), sex chromosomes.

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Molecular and genetic control of development in the nematode C. elegans; regulation of programmed cell death; mechanisms of tumorigenesis.

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Behavioral ecology; evolution; vertebrate biology; ornithology.

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Comparative biochemistry and physiology; energetics of animal locomotion; evolutionary design of functional capacities; ecological physiology.

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We seek to understand the genetic basis of behavioral variation by combingin population genetics and neurobiology in Drosophila and other species.

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Evolutionary ecology, population and conservation biology; ecology and behavior of reef fishes.