Professor of Integrative Biology
Keywords: materials, evolution
Research Areas: invertebrate behavior and ecology, marine biology, stomatopods, crustaceans, cephalopods, octopus, mating systems, communication, sensory ecology, aggressive behavior, coral reef restoration
My research interests lie in invertebrate behavior and ecology with much of my work centering on the behavioral ecology of stomatopod crustaceans, a group of tropical marine predators. The initial focus of this research was on how the evolution of potentially lethal weapons influenced stomatopod biology. These studies dealt mainly with communication and the function of aggression. More recent research has expanded to include the evolution of mating systems, interspecific communication, sensory ecology, prey selection, the biomechanics of the strike and larval biology. We are currently initiating studies on the genetic structure of stomatopod populations attempting to deduce the timing and pathways of dispersal. We have also used stomatopod populations as bio-indicators to assess the health of tropical coastal habitats. I have also become interested in the behavior of blue-ringed and other pygmy octopuses. We are currently studying the reproductive and aggressive behavior of several Indo-Pacific species. Much of my research is centered in the tropical Indo-Pacific including programs at Lizard Island, Moorea, and Indonesia.
Graduate students in my laboratory are not constrained to working on tropical marine invertebrates although an emphasis is maintained on invertebrate behavior and ecology. Students in my laboratory are currently studying deep-sea isopod biology, octopus behavior and systematics, TTX in blue-ring octopuses and possible resistance in their prey, multimodal communication in fiddler crabs and the function of inking in mid-water squid.