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Graduate Students

Graduate students within the lab explore a varieity of topics including neuroethology, behavioral ecology, animal communication, and sexual selection. If you are interested in seeking a graduate position in the lab, please contact Dr. Cummings and visit the Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior website.

Chad BrockChad Brock

My Interests:

I’m interested in the evolution of diversity at both the macro- and microevolutionary scale. At the macroevolutionary scale, I use comparative phlogenetic methods to investigate the evolution of morphological and taxonomic diversity, working predominantly with Chad Brockmarine fish and snakes. I have also taken an interest in the theoretical side of comparative phylogenetics, and have looked at the effect that different sampling biases can have on some standard phylogenetic diversification statistics. At the microevolutionary scale, my work has focused on the evolution of male color and female preference in populations of three-spine stickleback from Vancouver Island, BC. In particular, I’m nterested in how both biotic (e.g. diet, parasites, etc.) and abiotic (e.g. light environment) factors may impact the evolution of male nuptial color.


2006 B.S. Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
2009 M.S. Zoology, Washington State University


Ramsey ME, Maginnis TL, Wong RY, Brock C, Cummings ME. 2012 (In Press). Identifying context-specific gene profiles of social, reproductive and mate preference behavior in a fish species with female mate choice. Frontiers in Neurogenomics.

Alamillo H, Brock CD, Alfaro MW, Harmon LJ (Submitted). Red Queens, Court Jesters, and Snake Biodiversity: Tests of Ophidian Macroevolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.

Brock CD, Donabauer A, Dornburg A, Alfaro ME. (In prep) Rockfish of ages: Temporal and geographic patterns of diversification in Sebastes rockfish. 

Brock CD, Harmon LJ, Alfaro ME.  2011. Testing for Temporal Variation in Diversification Rates When Sampling is Incomplete and Nonrandom. Systematic Biology 60:410-419.

Alfaro ME, Santini F, Brock CD, Alamillo H, Dornburg A, Harmon LJ. 2009. Nine exceptional radiatons plus high turnoever explains species diversity in jawed vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(32): 13410-13414.

Alfaro ME, Santini F, Brock CD. 2007. Do reefs drive diversification in marine teleosts? Evidence from the pufferfishes and their allies. Evolution 61(9): 2104-2126.

Alfaro ME, Karns DR, Voris HK, Brock CD, Stuart BL. 2007. Phylogeny and evolutionary history of Oriental-Australian rear-fanged water snakes (Colubridae:Homalopsidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 46: 576-593.

Dornburg A, Brock CD, Weaver R. 2007. Pseudacris pacifica. Herpetological Review 38(1):99.

Harmon, L.J., Wier, J., Brock, C., Glor, R.E., and Challenger, W. 2007. Geiger: A statistical package for investigating evolutionary radiations in a comparative context. Bioinformatics 24:129-131.

Degnan, P.H., A.B. Lazarus, C.D. Brock and J.J. Wernegreen. 2004. Host-symbiont stability and fast evolutionary rates in an ant-bacterium association: Cospeciation of Camponotus species and their endosymbionts, Candidatus Blochmannia. Systematic Biology 53:95-110.

Caitlin FriesenCaitlin Friesen

My Interests:

My research explores the underlying patterns that govern social and reproductive interactions between organisms. My studies utilize a combination of experimental, observational, and field-based approaches to examine how environmental and human-induced changes affect key molecular processes and evolutionary patterns governing reproductive behaviors in fish. My current research examines how altered internal and environmental sex hormone levels modify the way animals recognize and choose mates.


2011 M.S. Biology, McGill University

2007 B.S. Biology Honors with Great Distinction, University of Lethbridge


Friesen CN, Aubin-Horth N, and Chapman LJ (2012). The effect of hypoxia on sex hormones in an African cichlid Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 162(1): 22-30. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.01.019

Friesen CN, Chapman LJ, and Aubin-Horth N (2012). Holding water steroid hormones in the African cichlid fish Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae. General and Comparative Endocrinology 179(2012): 400-405.

Luke RedingLuke Reding

My Interests:

My Research Site


2012 B.S. Biology with Honors, the College of William and Mary


Reding LP, Swaddle JP, Murphy HA. 2013. Sexual selection hinders adaptation in experimental populations of yeast. Biology Letters 9(3): 20121202

Caoucine AvenasCapucine Avenas

My Interests:

I am currently enrolled in a Master's program at the University Paris Sud in France, and expected to graduate in June 2015. My research focuses on the learning process in fish, via the NMDA receptor in the brain, as well as enhancing or blocking this receptor to compare its effects. 


2013 B.S. Human Biology, Universite Paris Sud (Orsay, France)