In general, my research focuses on the evolution and persistence of adaptive traits. I am particularly interested in why butterflies have such a diverse array of spectacular wing patterns. I classify myself as an evolutionary ecologist focused on describing and understanding the visual information and communication strategies of butterflies. I am particularly interested in aspects of visual signaling, prey defense, prey detection, and predator learning. For my dissertation research, I focused on elucidating novel mechanisms resulting in the origin and maintenance of warning coloration and mimicry. In these studies, I integrated behavioral, chemical, and phylogenetic approaches to identify the signal components critical in warning coloration and mimicry, how these signals change based on the environmental conditions, and how environmental variation influences evolutionary processes.
I defended my Ph.D. dissertation in May 2007 and am currently on a Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Research Fellowship through the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies. I am in the laboratory of Antónia Monteiro where I am studying the functional role of Bicyclus butterfly wing eyespots in mating and predation and how changing environmental conditions influence these roles.