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 serves as a WOS representative on the Board of Directors of the Ornithological Council.  and 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. Dr. Curry is the faculty advisor for the Ecological Society of Villanova.

CurryCV.2019 (updated Nov 2019)

Bob Curry profile on ResearchGate

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Brittany Coppinger will join 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 will also teach courses in behavioral ecology and tropical natural history, and will join RLC in mentoring research students.

Coppinger web site

BAC profile on ResearchGate

Masters students

Rebecca Garlinger (MS ’20) is studying dominance relationships and social networks in the mixed chickadee population at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. 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)

Holly Garrod (MS ’20) has studied the behavioral ecology and possible hybridization of Narrow-billed and Broad-billed todies in the Dominican Republic since 2016. While still working on her M.S. thesis, Holly now works at the Costa Rica Bird Observatory. @hmg_ornithology

Recipient of a 2018 McCarley Grant from the Southwestern Association of Naturalists; 2017 and 2018 BirdsCaribbean grants from the David S. Lee Fund; a 2017 Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Award (AFO); and a 2017 William B. and Mary G. Robertson Fellowship Award from the Florida Ornithological Society

Breanna Bennett (LAS ’17, MS ’20) studied exploratory behavior as a component of personality in the mixed chickadee population at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for her undergraduate Senior Thesis. She is focusing now on cognitive ecology (problem-solving abilities) in hybrid and ‘pure’ chickadees. @TheTinyBirdGirl

Recipient of a summer 2016 Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a VU Grad Studies 2019 Summer Research Fellowship

Michael Rowley (MS ’20) began work in the lab in Fall 2018. He is conducting thesis research on social and cognitive ecology (spatial memory) in hybrid and ‘pure’ chickadees. @MikeLikesBirds

Recipient of a VU Grad Studies 2019 Summer Research Fellowship; a 2017 Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Award (AFO); a 2019 Hesse Award from the American Ornithological Society; a 2019 Student Research Grant from the Animal Behavior Society; and a Dept of Biology 2019-20 academic year fellowship (2 semesters)

Taylor Heuermann (LAS ’19, MS ’20) is focusing on the influence of “personality genes” on boldness and exploratory behavior in chickadees. Taylor is in VU’s 5-year combined BS-MS program; she earned her B.S. in Biology in May 2019 and is now an M.S. student. @tmheuermann

Recipient of Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowships for summer 2017 and 2018; a 2018 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research; and a VU Grad Studies 2019 Summer Research Fellowship

Supported in 2018-19 by a WOS Burtt Undergraduate Mentoring Grant

Margaret Boyle (MS ’21) joined the lab in January 2019. She is developing plans for thesis work concerning interactions between Tufted Titmice and both Black-capped and Carolina chickadees. @MargaretNBoyle

Recipient of a 2020 Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Award (AFO)

Shane McFoy (MS ’22) joined the lab in August 2020. He aims to continue work on cognitive ecology of hybrid vs. pure chickadees. @s_mcfoy

Undergraduate research students

Ariana Abbrescia (LAS ’21) is focusing on forest ecology at Hawk Mountain.

Recipient of a summer 2020 Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Lily Day (LAS ’22) is studying male responses to songs in the chickadee hybrid zone

Worked in the lab during S19 as a First-year Match participant; recipient of a summer 2019 Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Zara Zimmer (LAS ’22) is investigating personality in relation to genotype among hybridizing chickadees

Recipient of a 2020 Department of Biology summer research fellowship

Samantha Macaluso (LAS ’23) joined the lab in spring 2020

Savrina Salartash (LAS ’23) joined the lab in spring 2020

Christina Ochs (LAS ’23) joined the lab in spring 2020

Former students and post-docs