Luke Costello

Luke is a researcher with a broad background in physical sciences and engineering. He joined the department after finishing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he worked on multiscale modeling approaches for studying hydrogen effects in metals. Luke enjoys learning about new subjects and the challenge of working of problems across fields. In his research moving forward he hopes to merge bottom-up modeling and analytic techniques from materials science and physics into the study of collective behavior in animal groups.

Aya Goldshtein

Aya Goldshtein conducted her Ph.D. at Tel-Aviv University where she studied foraging decision-making and navigation capacities in bats. During her research she studied the mutual relationship between nectar-feeding bats and their food source, the Saguaro cacti, revealing the foraging strategy and the decision process bats deal with while consuming the cacti’s nectar. She is now interested in expanding these questions and unravels the foraging strategy and the decision process of hummingbird hawk-moth.

Eli Strauss

Eli is a behavioral ecologist interested in the ecological and evolutionary forces underlying group living, with a focus on social hierarchies and the role they play in the broader context of the costs and benefits of sociality. Eli received his PhD in 2019 from Michigan State University, where he studied social dynamics in the complex, hierarchical societies of wild spotted hyenas. In his ongoing work, he is pursuing comparative research into basic principles underlying the ubiquity of inequality and social hierarchies across taxa.

David Rozen-Rechels

David is a behavioural ecologist interested in the behavioural adjustments of individuals in responses to environmental changes, especially changes in temperature and water availability. At a broader scale, his aim is to understand how animal behaviour could buffer the local effects of global change and ultimately to predict individuals’ activity window under different climate change scenarios. David received his PhD in 2019 from Sorbonne Université in Paris, during which he described and studied thermo-hydroregulation behaviours in the common lizard in response to variable temperature,

Christina Hansen Wheat

Christina is a behavioural ecologist interested in behavioural evolution, and how fitness is modulated by the interplay between behaviour and various biotic and abiotic factors. She received her PhD from Stockholm University, Sweden, working with wolves and dogs to answer questions about how behaviour has evolved during domestication—specifically demonstrating how domestication can break behavioural correlations. In 2020, Christina was awarded a three-year postdoctoral fellowship by the Swedish Research Council to come work at the Farine Lab,

Felix Oberhauser – Fotograf Konstanz

I have been fascinated by insects, especially ants, since my early childhood and have spent countless hours observing them in the wild and later also in the laboratory. During my masters, I worked on ants living in an intricate symbiosis with an ant-plant in Costa Rica. Since then, I have mostly worked with social insects, from road construction in meat ants to olfactory conditioning in honeybees. During my PhD, I investigated how cognitive abilities of ants can drive individual or collective decisions.

Daniel Calovi – Fotograf Konstanz

Daniel has a background in physics but over the years studied many types of collectives at multiple levels (amoebae, fish, lymphocytes and termites). His approach to studying these complex systems is through a combination of quantitative experiments and computational methods to analyse experimental data. From proposing relevant experiments to the analyses that uncover the mechanisms behind the complex features animals and cells display, leading to computer simulations which reproduce and test the limits of the proposed mathematical description.

Kaz Uyehara

Kaz Uyehara is a plant ecologist studying the collective “behavior” of plants. He received his Ph.D. from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at Princeton University in 2019. His previous research was focused on game theory models of plants and the adaptive significance of the self-organization of plant form. Kaz’s postdoctoral research uses theoretical, computational, and experimental techniques to investigate how plants in the genus Helianthus respond to competition at the scale of the organ, whole plant, and plant community. His aim is to study plant ecology by conceptualizing plant growth and form as emergent phenomena.

Hanja Brandl

Hanja is a behavioural ecologist exploring the effects of stress on social behaviour, pair-bonding, and group function in zebra finches. She has completed a Joint PhD at University of Hamburg and Macquarie University, where she studied social behavior and information use of free-living zebra finches in the Australian outback. Her research interest is focused on different aspects of social behaviour, such as social information transfer, causes and consequences of maintaining social associations over time,

McKenna Kelly

My research involves integrating neurobiology, development, evolution, and behavior to understand the proximate and ultimate causes behind sociality in birds. During my PhD at Cornell University, I studied the role the nonapeptides (oxytocin, vasopressin, and their non-mammalian homologues) play in regulating parental care and maintaining pair bonds in zebra finches. I also determined that corticosterone plays no role in regulating helping behavior in cooperatively breeding Mexican jays. I have also studied how sociality influences numerical cognition in Mexican jays and Woodhouse’s scrub jays.