We are a lab of scientists studying cognitive ecology within the Biology Department at the University of Missouri- Saint Louis. We are also affiliated with the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center and the Center for Neurodynamics.
The primary focus of our research is investigating the role of environmental variability in the evolution and ecological function of cognition (perception, learning, memory, and decision making). How do animals track changes in their environments? When is learning and tracking a good strategy? How should animals weight different sources of information? And how do these choices affect conservation outcomes for animals? To answer these questions we use a mix of theory and experiments, working on time scales ranging from single foraging bouts to experimental evolution studies across many generations, and with studies both in the laboratory as well as in the field. We are interested in the interplay between evolution and the genetic and molecular mechanisms of cognition, as well as a firm understanding of natural history and the problems the animals are solving in nature.