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 to these choices affect conservation outcomes for animals. As an important part of these questions we are interested in the interplay between evolution and the genetic and molecular mechanisms of cognition. An important aspect of this is understanding natural history and the problems the animals are solving in nature. 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.