General Information for prospective graduate students
We are always looking for good students to join the lab. In recent years, the lab has been blessed with a fabulous set of graduate students and it is my hope to continue this trend. I believe I have learned as much from the students in the lab as they have learned from me, and the collaborative interactions between lab members with each other and with me have been highly productive. I hope the lab will continue to foster high quality research and the development of students who will go on to successful careers.
Students in the lab generally work on questions in evolutionary ecology, involving and integrating approaches from ecology, behavior, evolutionary biology, systematics, and other fields. Most students in the lab have worked on reptiles (although one works on fish); among the herpetologically inclined, one worked on snakes and the rest on lizards. Among those working on lizards, most have worked on anoles, although other groups studied have included Liolaemus, collared lizards, day geckos, and varanids. Students are by no means required to work on Anolis. Nonetheless, because of their ease of study and the statistical power and evolutionary interest provided by their replicate adaptive radiation in the Greater Antilles, Anolis lizards are an excellent group for addressing many questions in evolutionary biology, ecology, and behavior. To my mind, the ideal student either will work on topics of interest to the lab (e.g., adaptive radiation), or on organisms with which I am very familiar (e.g., Anolis). Students interested in marine mammals behavior probably should apply elsewhere (I have actually received several inquiries!).
My philosophy is that it is up to students to decide what they will study. I am happy to work with students to help them define and refine their interests, but I do not tell them what to do. I am always happy to provide suggestions and advice and to play an active role in the development of research ideas. With some students, I take a very active role throughout their graduate career; in others, I am more of a consultant, providing advice when needed and requested. This is up to the students - some want and need more assistance than others. Certainly, I work very closely with many students when they are working on subjects near and dear to my heart.
Admission to the OEB Graduate Program is always very competitive. However, this year (2011-2012) will be particularly difficult for students applying to join our lab because the lab is large relative to others in the department, and because two new students started this year. Consequently, it will take an extremely strong application to get admitted to our lab this year. Among the important factors are research experience, letters of recommendation, grades, and GREs. If at all possible, students should consider arranging a visit to the lab at some point before mid-January of the year in which they hope to matriculate. I also encourage prospective students to contact current and former students in the lab.