Current lab members

dsc_2486Dr. Robert Lawrence (Bob) Curry received his A.B. from Dartmouth College (’79) and his Ph.D. from The University of Michigan (’87). In his doctoral research, he studied social and conservation ecology of Galápagos mockingbirds. He conducted postdoctoral research on Florida Scrub-Jays at Archbold Biological Station (1987-90) and began his position at Villanova in January 1991. He served as President (2013-15) of the Wilson Ornithological Society and continues to take an active role in that organization’s affairs; he currently serves as WOS Trustee. He also contributed to the governance of the former American Ornithologists’ Union (and is a Fellow and Life Member of its successor, the American Ornithological Society) and the Society for Conservation Biology, and he is helping to organize the 2022 Centennial meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists. Dr. Curry is President of the Villanova chapter of Sigma Xi and the faculty advisor for the Ecological Society of Villanova.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Brittany Coppinger joined the lab in Jan 2021 as a Mendel Science Experience (MSE) Postdoctoral Fellow. Brittany brings extensive experience studying chickadee and titmouse communication and social ecology. Dr. Coppinger’s MSE position focuses on co-teaching our offering for non-science majors about genealogy; she is also teaching courses in behavioral ecology and tropical natural history, and has joined RLC in mentoring research students.

Masters students

Rebecca Garlinger (MS ’22) studied dominance relationships and social networks in the mixed chickadee population at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and is currently completing her thesis. Becca currently works as a Wildlife Specialist at White Oak, a wildlife conservation organization in Florida. @BecAndTheBrain

  • Recipient of a 2018 Louis Agassiz Fuertes Grant from the Wilson Ornithological Society; a 2018 Hesse Award from the American Ornithological Society; a 2017 Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Award (AFO); a VU Grad Studies 2017 Summer Research Fellowship; and a Dept of Biology 2017-18 academic year fellowship (1 semester)

Breanna Bennett (LAS ’17, MS ’22) studied exploratory behavior as a component of personality in the mixed chickadee population at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for her undergraduate Senior Thesis. She then focused on cognitive ecology (problem-solving abilities) in hybrid and ‘pure’ chickadees for her M.S. thesis, which she is currently completing … while also enrolled as a PhD student at Princeton University. @TheTinyBirdGirl

Margaret Boyle (MS ’22) joined the lab in January 2019. She is examining social network relationships and interactions between Tufted Titmice and both Black-capped and Carolina chickadees and their hybrids. @MargaretNBoyle

  • Recipient of a 2020 Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Award (AFO) and a VU Grad Studies 2021 Summer Research Fellowship

Shane McFoy (MS ’22) joined the lab in August 2020. He is continuing work on cognitive ecology of hybrid vs. pure chickadees, focusing on spatial memory. @s_mcfoy

  • Recipient of a 2021 Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Award (AFO) and a 2021 AOS research grant; a VU Grad Studies 2021 Summer Research Fellowship; and a Dept of Biology 2021-22 academic year fellowship (1 semester)

Claire Jones (MS ’24) joined the lab on January 2022.

Gabby Solomon (MS ’24) joined the lab in August 2022.

Undergraduate research students

Savrina Salartash (LAS ’22) joined the lab in spring 2020

Carlos Garriga (LAS ’23) joined the lab in spring 2020

Frank Rauscher (LAS ’23) joined the lab in fall 2021

Kiki Edmark (LAS ’24) joined the lab in fall 2021

  • Recipient of a summer 2022 Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Former students and post-docs