Research Statement

Vocal learning, the ability to learn vocalizations from social companions, is a fundamental component of human language. Vocal learning has also evolved in species distantly related to humans, including mammalian and avian taxa. As a member of Tim Wright’s avian communication and evolution lab, I study monk parakeets and other vocal learning species to contribute to our understanding of this complex cognitive trait.

My research also focuses on how animals adapt to environments altered by human activity. Monk parakeets are a useful model for this question, as these parrots have been introduced across the world through the global pet trade. In my ongoing research with monk parakeets, I am using genomic approaches to ask questions about the origins of and selection pressures experienced by this biological invader.