I am a first year graduate student in Dr. Karen Bales’ Laboratory for Comparative Neurobiology of Monogamy at the University of California, Davis. I am broadly interested in better understanding the mechanisms driving monogamy in non-human primates. Specifically, I plan on analyzing the effects of acute manipulations of intranasal arginine-vasopressin and oxytocin on stress response and pair bonding in coppery titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus). In addition to researching the neurobioloigical factors influencing monogamous behavior (e.g. preference for a familiar partner, distress upon separation, and mate-guarding), I plan on also studying how early-life experiences and partner interactions influence behavior.
As an undergraduate, I studied population
ecology trends in reptiles and amphibians in Dr. Michael Dorcas’ Herpetology Laboratory at Davidson College. One of my main projects focused on calculating survivorship and recruitment of semi-aquatic turtle populations in the southeastern US. Under Dr. Dorcas’ mentorship, I published three papers, wrote several successful grant proposals, and presented my findings at scientific meetings and local venues.
After graduating with a B.S. in Biology, I worked as a research/field technician in Dr. Emily Moriarty Lemmon’s lab Florida State University studying female chorus frog (Pseudacris feriarum) mate choice. I performed preference tests by presenting synthesized conspecific and heterospecific
calls to female chorus frogs in soundproof phonotaxis chambers. I also analyzed sound degradation through various environments to test the sensory drive hypothesis, and captured specimens for genetic analyses.
After FSU, I worked as a research specialist at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center. At Yerkes, I worked as part of a team to manage primate colony socializations and specimen collections by overseeing social introductions in colonies, recording dominance observations, and collecting and processing blood samples. I was especially involved with introductions of male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) to breeding colonies and spent hours watching and recording social interactions. Working at Yerkes convinced me that I wanted to conduct research on reproductive strategies, focusing specifically on factors driving pair bonding in monogamous species.