Ph.D. 2008, Princeton University
B.A. 2002, Amherst College
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Conor is a Cornell Lab of Ornithology postdoctoral fellow. Before coming to Cornell, he completed a PhD and USDA-funded postdoctoral research at the University of California, Davis. Conor has been studying wild birds for over 10 years. During that time, his work has addressed questions about breeding biology, life history trade-offs, sexual signal evolution, epidemiology, and movement ecology in Common Yellowthroats, Greater Sage-Grouse, and American Crows. Conor's current work, in Tree Swallows, addresses how stress affects behavior and physiology, and how social signals and social interactions affect phenotype and fitness. You can read more about Conor's research here.
Cedric is is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab. Before coming to Cornell he completed a PhD at the University of Strasbourg in France, and a postdoc at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Cedric has been working on stress in birds for over a decade. His work addresses how stressors (including predation risk, food availability, and anthropogenic disturbance) affect birds, and the adaptations that enable successful coping. He is especially interested in the effects of developmental stressors exposure on later-life phenotypes. Cedric's work uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines techniques from molecular biology to behavioral ecology. Read more about Cedric's work here.
Jenny is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She came to Cornell from the University of Chicago, where she worked with Steve Pruett-Jones on non-native parrots in the United States and fairy-wrens in South Australia. She is interested in how animals, especially birds, respond to dynamic environmental conditions, via hormonal, behavioral, and movement responses. She is especially interested in these responses during breeding and migration, two stressful times in animals' lives. Jenny works on breeding Tree Swallows in Ithaca, NY, and on migrating Sanderlings stopping over in the Delaware Bay. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom is a graduate student in EEB, and a Presidential Life Sciences Fellow. He is broadly interested in the behavioral and physiological ecology of birds in the wild, and especially how selection influences hormonal mediation of life history traits associated with breeding in birds. His main interests pertain to brood parasitism and how hormone traits associated with parental and social behavior of hosts are shaped by interspecific, obligate brood parasites. Before he came to Cornell, he served as an assistant on various research projects run by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, University of Queensland, and Point Blue Conservation Science. You can contact him by email at: email@example.com.
Laura is a visiting PhD student from the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. We have been lucky enough to have her based here for several years! Her dissertation research explores hormonal mechanisms underlying disease resistance and tolerance in red-winged blackbirds. She is also participating in a large-scale comparative project that is investigating how selection shapes hormone levels across vertebrate taxa. Learn more about Laura's research here.
Undergraduate Lab Members
Alyssa is a Cornell undergraduate, who joined the lab in the spring of her freshman year, and has since worked with tree swallows from New York to Alaska. She is concentrating in neurobiology and behavior, and loves anything that involves working with animals. Alyssa was a member of the first research team from the lab to travel to McCarthy, Alaska in the summer of 2016, where she braved bugs, bears, and "mooselings" to collect some exciting data on tree swallows breeding in this extreme environment. Back in Ithaca, she has done independent research on the predictors of fledging success, and return rate in tree swallows.
Avi joined the lab as a first-year student, in 2015. He is interested in the role stress plays in senescence and how studying the response to stressors in tree swallows may provide clues to understanding aging in other organisms. Avi has done independent work on how stressors affect telomere dynamics in tree swallows.
Eric is a junior biology major interested in stress physiology and immunology. For the past two years he has been conducting independent research in the lab, using an insect model system - the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus - to test the effect of developmental environment on morphology, behavior, and physiology. Eric plans to attend medical school after graduation.
Joe is a junior biology major, who joined the lab in 2016. In addition to being a member of the tree swallow field research team, he has been active in the lab, helping to conduct hormone assays, and measuring the color of tree swallow feathers. He is currently pursuing independent research on the relationship between feather color and physiological state.
Garrett is a sophomore biology major, and is currently the only undergraduate lab member to have worked with both vertebrates and invertebrates! Garrett has been a member of the Ithaca tree swallow research team for the past two summers, and pursues independent work on the role of predation on morphology and behavior in crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus), during the academic year.
Meera is a freshman from Nairobi, Kenya. She is a Biological Sciences major interested in zoology, and is studying tree swallow behavior and physiology with the Ithaca-based tree swallow research team in 2017.
Ann is a first year biology major from Spring, Texas. She enjoys birdwatching, and is particularly interested in the relationships between physiology and behavior. In the summer of 2017 she is headed to the interior of Alaska to study how tree swallows respond to environmental stressors.
Deanna is a third-year Animal Science major at Cornell, with a particular interest in exotic animals. She is currently studying tree swallow behavior and physiology with the Ithaca swallow research team. She is also a member of the Cornell Raptor Program, and has a NY state falconry permit!
Danica is a freshman biology major from New Jersey. She is a member of the 2017 Ithaca tree swallow research team. She is interested in how acute versus chronic stress can affect physiology and behavior. Danica previously participated in research on primate models of Parkinson's disease at Emory University.
Jocelyn hails from Victoria, British Columbia. She joined the lab during her sophomore year and subsequently spent two seasons leading the tree swallow research crew. Jocelyn completed a wonderful honors thesis on the heritability of hormonal stress responses - which she recently submitted for publication as first author! She is currently attending vet school at Cornell.
Alison is from Montgomery, NY. She spent two years with the tree swallow research team, capturing, measuring and taking blood samples from birds, and attempting to name every nestling she encountered. After conducting independent research in the lab, Ali is off to medical school at Thomas Jefferson University, where she hopes to bring a broadened biological perspective to medical school through her understanding of evolution, animal behavior, and the physiological mechanisms of behavior.
Jackson is a recent Cornell graduate who spent two years in the lab, and then joined us as a tech after graduating. During his time in the lab Jackson became an expert tree swallow capturer, and conducted independent work on behavioral synchrony among pair members. He is interested in incorporating an understanding of behavior and neurobiology into the practice of medicine. During his time as an undergraduate Jackson was also a member of the rowing team, and worked at the MacCormick secure center for juveniles. He is now attending medical school at Thomas Jefferson University.
Sara, who was a Cornell Presidential Research Scholar, worked on several projects in the lab, from comparative work on endocrine evolution to the behavioral response of tree swallows to threats. She conducted her senior thesis work on the effect of diet on stable isotopes in nestling songbirds, and is currently a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz.
Sophie, who comes from Brooklyn, New York, began working in the lab as a freshman aggregating data for comparative analyses before acquiring skills in genotyping and genetic sexing. She stayed in the lab for four years, completing honors research during her junior and senior years on the effect of perceived predator pressure on the morphology and physiology of extra-pair young. Sophie now attends medical school at Thomas Jefferson University.
Teresa was a long-time tree swallow researcher, and crew leader, who is particularly interested in the factors influencing natal dispersal. After completing her honors thesis she stayed on as the manager of the Winkler Lab. She is also an avid birder, a member of the Lab of Ornithology's Team Readhead, and helped to coordinate two natural history expeditions to Borneo as co- president of Cornell's Ivy Expeditions group. She is currently writing up two manuscripts on her undergraduate research, and is headed to the Winger Lab at the University of Michigan to pursue a PhD in ecology and evolution.
Collin was a neurobiology and behavior concentrator, who hailed from Melrose, MA. He began working in the lab during the field season of 2014 helping to collect blood samples, and using RFID and HOBO systems to collect behavioral data. He is particularly interested in the degree to which variation in the stress response is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. He is currently conducting biomedical research, and plans to attend medical school in the future.
Sarah was a biopsychology major from Broomfield, Colorado. During her time in the lab she was involved with constructing a database of hormone concentrations across vertebrates. She is currently working at the University of Colorado Hospital while she prepares to enter medical school.
Austin came to us from the lab of Dan Ardia, where he worked for three years studying behavioral genetics and the evolution of life histories. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in neuroscience from Franklin and Marshall. During the summer of 2013, his third year working with tree swallows, he worked exhaustively to install and maintain the RFID systems and take physiological and morphological data. He was also the best sneak capturer around! Austin is currently a graduate student in immunology at UPenn.
Other former lab members: