My current research focus is the comparative phylogenetics of river island bird specialist species in the Amazon Basin. This community of birds are restricted to scrub habitats on seasonally flooded islands in the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers and their major tributaries. The map of northern South America at right illustrates the highly linear distribution of this ecosystem. I am interested in how dispersal and high linearity of habitat affect gene flow and population structure in this system.
My undergraduate thesis focused on the flocking dynamics and long-term social interactions in the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) in the lab of Dr. Bruce Lyon. Using a wintering population of color banded birds, we were able track individuals and associations between individuals on a small spacial scale. Using these data, and lead by Dr. Diazaburo Shizuka, we were able to show that individuals associate with each other more than expected by chance, and that these associations last across years.