Principal investigator:

Dr. Kyle Summers

 

Current graduate students:

Evan Twomey

Tiffany Kosch

James Tumulty

Adam Stuckert

 

Former graduate students:

Jesse Delia

Justin Yeager

Jason Brown

Jennifer Roberts

Sea McKeon

Rebecca Symula

Mark Clough

James Tumultyjustin

Research Interests: Behavioral ecology, mating system evolution, neotropical herpetology, amphibian biodiversity and conservation. 

As a MS candidate in the Summers Lab I have been researching parental care and the evolution of monogamy in the Peruvian poison frog, Ranitomeya imitator.  I have spent 8 months in the field studying the behavior of these frogs; specifically I have been testing the hypothesis that selection for cooperative biparental care is maintaining a monogamous mating system in this species.  Levels of parental investment by each sex into offspring, including levels of parental care, are important factors in determining the mating system of a species.  In species where the males and females both have high, relatively equal levels of investment into offspring (i.e. species with biparental care) the reproductive interests of males and females can become aligned and favor monogamy.  I have been testing this hypothesis by conducting male removal experiments and looking at the importance of male care by measuring the growth and survival of tadpoles cared for by widowed females.  Male removal experiments are often used to evaluate the factors leading to monogamy in avian species; conducting these experiments in the only known example of true monogamy in an anuran represents a unique opportunity to examine how similar selective forces can lead to cooperative mating systems in very different vertebrate lineages.