Research

As a PhD student at UC Riverside I focused my research efforts on honey bee communication signals to examine their effect on colonies’ group decision-making processes. To date, I have spent field seasons on Appledore Island in Maine, a field station owned by UNH and Cornell University, and in the Colorado Desert near Indio, California to study the role of negative feedback in the honey bee swarm nest site selection process. I have also conducted research on campus at UC Riverside, where I used observation colonies and HD video to study the roles of the waggle dance, tremble dance, and stop signal in a foraging context.

Bees performing the stop signal

stop_signal_gif
click for full resolution+audio

I routinely involve undergraduate students in my research, and have enjoyed mentoring them through the processes of experimental design, data collection in the field, video analysis, statistical analysis, and preparing the results for presentation to their departments. A manuscript I co-authored with an undergraduate student is currently in review.

rmbl_butterfly_net

As an undergraduate I received an NSF REU award to conduct research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado. There I focused on the foraging ecology of various species of native bumble bee on vertical inflorescences to determine whether their movements about the inflorescences and their decisions to stay on or leave individual flowers were within the bounds of optimal foraging theory.

I hope to continue my work on negative feedback in honey bee colonies to further elucidate its role in these self-organizing systems. I foresee the opportunity for productive collaborations with researchers across a diversity of disciplines as we take principles from social insect behavior and use them as models in mathematics, computing, and robotics.