I am broadly interested in the evolution of sociality. Social systems are the products of behavioral strategies of individuals. I study how conflicts of interest arising from group-living are resolved through the evolution of alternative behavioral strategies. My studies have focused on parent-offspring conflict, reproductive parasitism, and other conflicts arising from sociality. I am particularly interested in how ecological, social and genetic factors interact in shaping the evolution of parasitic and cooperative breeding strategies. Measuring kinship is fundamental to understanding conflicts of interest. My research integrates field observation and experimental work on populations of marked individuals with molecular genetic determination of relatedness.
I am studying how ecological factors affect the evolution of conspecific brood parasitism in the common moorhen. Since 2006, I have been collaborating with David Lank (Simon Fraser University, Canada) investigating the evolution and behavior of female mimics among ruff sandpipers. Conservation is a strong motivation for my research, and I am becoming increasingly involved in avian conservation projects through collaborations with David Lank (Tuamotu sandpipers in French Polynesia), and Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Center (captive breeding programs).