• Postdoctoral University of Washington at Seattle
  • Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley (Zoology)
  • B.S. Davidson College (Biology)


As a behavioral ecologist, I am particularly interested in teaching and learning about the interactions between evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and ecology. Consequently, I am able to bring a range of experiences to my teaching of introductory biology, animal behavior, vertebrate zoology and evolutionary biology.

For my Ph.D. I studied cooperative breeding in acorn woodpeckers. I followed this with a postdoc at UW Seattle studying the endocrinological basis of cooperative breeding in acorn woodpeckers. After this I was off to Namibia to study sperm storage, monogamy, and hatching asynchrony in hornbills. I began teaching at Davidson in 1995.


Although I have recently restarted my hornbill research in Namibia, here in Davidson my students and I focus on a number of cavity-nesting species in the Davidson area. Using Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Carolina Chickadees, we investigate nest site competition, brood parasitism, nest site selection, and behavioral plasticity. We monitor several hundred nest boxes within a 15-minute radius of campus.

We have boxes on multiple local golf courses, corporate campuses and parks, and through weekly monitoring of these nest boxes in the spring and summer, my students gain a variety of research experiences as we together investigate several research questions.

Further afield, I am collaborating with the Nature Conservancy to test whether providing nest boxes in managed young longleaf pine stands can "jump-start" the colonization of these snag-free habitats by Brown-headed Nuthatches.

In Africa I am not only studying the breeding biology of hornbills, I am also examining competition among different members of the cavity-nesting guild (hornbills, rollers, parrots, owlets, and honeybees).  I?ve also started a similar project in India.


BIO 112 Organisms, Evolution, and Ecosystems
BIO 222 Vertebrate Zoology
BIO 223 Animal Behavior
BIO 232 Vertebrate Natural History
BIO 233 Behavioral Ecology
BIO 264 Evolutionary Medicine
BIO 342 Evolutionary Biology