The work in this lab is focused on the mechanisms, ecology, and evolution of animal behavior. The primary emphasis is on visually guided behavior in honey bees, but we also investigate complex decision-making in other organisms including humans.
How animals decide what to do at each point in time is a fundamental
problem in animal behavior - perhaps the fundamental problem.
The core challenge facing the animal is that it may have a wide range
of things that it could do,
but needs to determine the best option on the basis of limited
information provided by its sensors or by past experience. To
understand how animals make adaptive decisions requires us to examine
their sensory abilities, how they learn from their experience,
how they evaluate different courses of action, and how all of these
behavioral processes are coordinated.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.An important organizing theme in the lab is to understand animal behavior in an evolutionary context, by reference to both the evolutionary history and adaptive significance of the behavioral processes we study.