LAB MEMBERS


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Dr. Mary Caswell Stoddard (Cassie)
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

View my CV here.

Cassie joined the Princeton University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as an Assistant Professor in 2016. She is an Associated Faculty member in the Princeton Environmental Institute. Cassie received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, where she researched avian vision and plumage color evolution at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. She received a Marshall Scholarship and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to study at the University of Cambridge, where she completed her PhD research. Cassie joined the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2012 as a Junior Fellow and was named a 2013 L’Oreal USA For Women in Science Fellow. She is a 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.


 © Sameer A. Khan

© Sameer A. Khan

DR. BEN HOGAN
POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Ben received his BSc and PhD from the University of Bristol (UK), where his work focused on understanding if and how some forms of coloration could benefit animals in groups. This work was largely computer-based – wherein human ‘predators’ were tested on their ability to capture digital prey. Ben has also investigated the likelihood that murmurating European starlings gain protection from predators due to the confusion effect. Ben joined the Stoddard Lab in 2017 and has been involved in research on several fronts. These include investigating plumage color, color vision, and visual ecology of hummingbirds, quantifying Broad-tailed Hummingbird courtship dives, and exploring egg recognition in the Tawny-flanked Prinias — and bird egg pattern evolution in general.


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DR. DERYA AKKAYNAK
POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Derya received her PhD from the Joint Program between MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Mechanical Engineering and Oceanography. She joined the Stoddard Lab in 2018 after a 2.5 year post-doc in Israel where she worked on underwater imaging and computer vision problems. She is interested in building new camera hardware and software for answering specific questions in avian visual ecology. 


 © Sameer A. Khan

© Sameer A. Khan

Audrey MilleR
Lab Manager/Research Technician

Audrey received her B.S. in Biology at The College of New Jersey in 2015, after which she worked as a research technician on multiple long-term research projects in South Africa and Australia, on topics ranging from avian physiology and behavior to social signaling in cooperatively breeding birds. Audrey is currently the Stoddard Lab research technician and lab manager, assisting with many ongoing projects in the realm of sensory ecology, including recent work on the effects of manipulating colorful signals for animal behavioral research in the context of different visual systems. She is broadly interested in variation of sensory perception, particularly how differences in vision and other sensory channels affect behavior and the evolution of different social systems.


 © Sameer A. Khan

© Sameer A. Khan

Jarome Ali
PhD Student

Jarome is interested in understanding the origin of biological diversity and in finding ways to quantify this diversity. In the Stoddard Lab, Jarome is exploring plumage color evolution — especially in parrots — and is developing new tools for objectively comparing colorful phenotypes. Overall, Jarome hopes to gain insights into the diverse processes that make the natural world so colorful.


 © Sameer A. Khan

© Sameer A. Khan

Monica Carlson
PhD Student

Monica is fascinated by phenotypic diversity, especially plumage color and pattern in birds, and is interested in how this diversity arises. What selective forces contribute to a species displaying a particular plumage pattern? What phylogenetic, developmental or other constraints are at play? Monica is currently exploring these types of questions in woodpeckers.


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Klara NOrden
PhD Student

Klara’s background is in paleontology. She received her BSc and MSc at the University of Bristol (UK), where she became fascinated by bird coloration while working on a project to detect iridescence in fossil feathers. Klara’s current research interests lie in understanding the diversity and evolution of iridescence, which produces some of the most varied and vibrant colors of the natural world. Why are some bird clades more colorful than others? How do different color mechanisms constrain or facilitate color evolution? Klara applies a multidisciplinary approach to her work, combining optics, biomechanics, visual modelling and macroevolution to understand how color evolves in birds – and other dinosaurs.