Dr. Anderson studies animal behavior with a focus on social behavior, communication, and cognition.
Through the Behavioral Ecology and Bioacoustics Laboratory, Anderson and team employ field behavioral ecology and laboratory experiments to study the form and function of communication signals, mechanisms that enforce reliability in signaling systems, and the role that cognitive abilities such as learning and memory play in sexual signaling and mate choice. The Laboratory focus is to study the vocal behaviors of songbirds as a model system to understand how behavior develops and evolves.
Anderson’s approach is interdisciplinary and collaborative, combining acoustic recording and analysis, tests of cognitive performance, field observation and experimentation of wild birds, studies of behavioral development in captive birds, and hormone measurement and manipulation.
Currently, Anderson and team are expanding the research scope to include proximate mechanisms of behavioral regulation, including microbiome analysis, and endocrinological mediators of aggression and stress responsiveness, to understand the evolution of social behavior and communication systems.