MK Lab



Sociality has evolved independently across the animal kingdom and understanding the evolution of cooperation systems requires investigating the selective pressures that favor group living. Our research is centered on understanding group formation and dynamics in social animals, and the balance between cooperation and conflict in these groups.  In addition, our research explores the relationship between brain development and sociality in animals: How do social animals process information from their environment to make decisions that enhance their survival and reproductive success? In animal societies where group members are constantly interacting, how do these interactions shape brain architecture and function? To address these questions, we investigate the relationship of social interactions, behavior cues, environmental factors, and brain architecture in a diverse set of arthropod taxa.  In my laboratory group, we use an integrative approach by combining field behavioral observations and experiments with laboratory analyses to explore the underlying neural systems. In a broader context, my research aims to understand the ecology and evolution of sociality in animals, especially those in the Tropics.

Below are links to my ongoing projects.

Group Formation & Alternative Reproductive Tactics in Primitively Eusocial Wasps

Plasticity & the Relationship Between Behavior and Brain Development
Nestmate Recognition & Helping Behavior in Tropical Weaver Ants
Biological Control, Host Choice & Handling Behavior by a Hymenopteran Parasitoid
Population Genetics of Insular Wasps
Crypsis in Pallid Ghost Crabs
Mechanisms Underlying Collective Defense Behavior
Social behavior associated to neurohormones in fish hierarchies
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