Research in the Curry Lab focuses on evolutionary, behavioral, and conservation ecology of birds and, in a few cases, jumping spiders that do some special things.
We have studied the causes and consequences of interbreeding between Carolina Chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) and Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in southeastern Pennsylvania since 1998. Since 2012, we have collaborated in this work with the Lovette Lab at Cornell. More …
Chickadee reproductive & social ecology
Not all of our chickadee research concerns hybridization: we also conduct original work on Carolina Chickadees and other species (e.g., Boreal Chickadee, P. hudsonicus) to investigate questions concerning their dominance relationships, social networks, and mating systems. More …
Behavior and ecology of ant-acacia jumping spiders
My students and I co-discovered in 2007 the extraordinary behavior of the world’s only spider, the jumping spider, Bagheera kiplingi. Since then, we have continued to investigate its diet, forging behavior, nesting ecology, geographic range, and interspecific relationships with both ant and plants in Central America, from Mexico to Panama. More …
Ecology of Neotropical Mimidae and ‘friends’
My students and I occasionally undertake additional projects—using same methods similar to those we employ in the chickadee research—to address ecological, evolutionary, and conservation questions about other animal systems, including especially species in the Mimidae (as extensions to my dissertation research on social and conservation ecology of Galapagos mockingbirds). Organisms we studied in the 1990s included the critically endangered Socorro Mockingbird (Mimus graysoni) and Galápagos mockingbirds (Mimus macdonaldi) on Isla Española, Galapagos. We also recorded the last well-documented sighting of the critically endangered Cozumel Thrasher (Toxostoma guttatum) in 2014.
More recent projects have concerned the conservation and behavioral ecology of St. Lucia White-Breasted Thrashers (Ramphocinclus brachyurus); mating system of Black Catbirds (Melanoptila glabrirostris), a Yucatan endemic; and social ecology of Yucatan Wren (Campylorhynchus yucatanicus), another Yucatan endemic. We are currently considering a new project on hybridization in Narrow-billed and Broad-billed todies in the Dominican Republic.