About Our Lab

A Taste for the Beautiful

 2018Princeton University Press

Research in our laboratory addresses questions concerning the evolution and function of animal behavior. Most of the questions we have addressed are centered on issues of sexual selection and communication and have attempted to integrate studies of brain, behavior, and evolution. We utilize a variety of techniques, including: natural history studies; phylogenetic reconstruction and comparisons; laboratory experimentation, especially phonotaxis, robotics, and video playbacks; molecular neurobiology; and endocrinology. Although much of the work has centered on frogs and fish, we also have studied insects, birds, and mammals. Currently our studies also involve frog-eating bats, blood-sucking flies, swordtails, mollies, túngara frog, peter's frog, and poison dart frogs.

Check our Multimedia tab for interactive material available as teaching aids. It currently contains sonograms, wave files and a videos of túngara frog, frog-eating bats, and blood-sucking flies.


Beaut Tungara Mutant
Beaut Tungara Mutant
Tungara frogs, Physalaemus pustulosus, and their close relatives are one of the model species we use for studies of sexual selection and communication. Related to the tungara frogs studies are also studies of two animals that eavesdrop on the tungara frogs calls: frog-eating bats (Trachops cirrhosus) and blood-sucking flies (Corelthrella spp.). We have also invested heavily in studies of the behavioral ecology of live-bearing fishes, swordtails (Xiphophorus spp.) and mollies (Poecilia spp.). Graduate students in our lab have, however, studied a variety of organsisms, inluding reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, and squids, and have addressed a variety of questions dealing the function and evolution of behavior. Go the the Research Tab (below) for more details.


Tungara Frog Calls

Tungara Frog Calls


Wave file of the calls illustrated in the figure on left.

Videos, calls and images are available on the Multimedia page.