Our laboratory was established in the fall of 2009. Currently we are 21 researchers working on a broad range of topics including vocal development, parasite-host coevolution, coloniality, bird egg color, sexual selection, rapid evolution, environmental ethics, ethnobotany, linguistic diversity, and cultural evolution in bird song and human morals.
- NOVEMBER: Aaron gave a guest lecture for QC BIOL724, Behavior & Evolution, entitled "Sex and behavior".
- OCTOBER: Our lab hosted Larissa Swedell, anthropologist here at Queens College and at the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP). Larissa spoke at our departmental colloquium on mating systems and social behavior in hamadryas baboons, and we enjoyed great extended discussions afterwards with her.
- JULY: We (CUNY, led by our buddy Mark Hauber) hosted the annual meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology this year. Several of us attended. Our student presentations were:
- Chenghui: Ju, C., F.C. Geller, and D.C. Lahti, "An integrative analysis to characterize song diversity of the House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) in North America." (Talk)
- Khaleda: Khan, K. and D.C. Lahti, "Mate attraction dominates the behavior of a colonially breeding bird." (Poster)
- JULY: Aaron returned from 10 months in India on a Fulbright Scholarship. Aaron got great data on movement patterns and sexual selection in the small Indian mongoose.
- JULY: We had two summer interns this year: Hannah Pearce, from the University of Kent in the U.K., and Jackie Robins from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Both Hannah and Jackie recorded and analyzed bird song with us.
- JUNE: Stephanie, one of our very first lab members, has been accepted to the Master's of Public Health Program at Columbia University! But that means she is leaving us. Bye Steph, we'll miss you!
- JUNE: Julieana and Joseph graduated with BAs in Biology!
- MAY: Several members of our lab went to the Joint Meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society and the Association of Field Ornithologists, at the beautiful campus of Salve Regina University in Newport Rhode Island. What a wonderful time! Our student presentations were:
- MAY: Chenghui received a CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral Student Research Grant to support her work on quantifying spatial variation in bird song.
- APRIL: Our lab hosted Tony Wilson, biologist at Brooklyn College CUNY, who spoke at our departmental colloquium on sexual selection and the evolution of the Major Histocompatibility Complex in seahorses and pipefish.
- APRIL: Trisha was among 44 UNICEF volunteers (of 70,000) in the United States honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award.
- APRIL: Chenghui received a Student Travel Award to attend the Joint Meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society and the Association of Field Ornithologists in Newport Rhode Island.
- MARCH: Our lab hosted Edward Kennelly, a biochemist at Lehman College CUNY, who spoke at our departmental colloquium about medicinal uses of plants by minority groups in China.
- MARCH: Chenghui was awarded an Animal Behavior Society Student Research Grant for her development of a computational approach to spatiotemporal variation in bird song.
- MARCH: Aaron spoke on "The biological and cultural impacts of the invasive small Indian mongoose" at the South and Central Asia Fulbright Research Conference, Chennai, India.
- JANUARY: Chenghui was awarded a Queens College mini-grant to support her research on a quantitative approach to assessing cultural evolution in bird song.
- DECEMBER: Aaron was awarded a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid of Research for his study of social behavior in the small Indian mongoose. During this month he also spoke on "Insights into the mating behavior of the invasive small Indian mongoose" for Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI), Zunheboto District, Nagaland, India.
- DECEMBER: Our lab hosted Sarah Woolley, Chair of Psychology at Columbia University. She spoke at our departmental colloquium about the neural coding of vocalization in the songbird brain.
- NOVEMBER: Andrew F. Richards (hereafter Andy) joined our lab as our first postdoctoral research associate. Andy studies the evolution of human psychology and behavior, as well as vocal communication in dolphins.
- OCTOBER: Chenghui participated in an invitational workshop, "Analyzing Animal Vocal Sequences", at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She also released (to our lab) her acoustic analysis software, FinchCatcher (1.0, beta)!!
- SEPTEMBER: Our lab hosted Mary Caswell "Cassie" Stoddard, a biologist who is currently a Harvard Fellow. She spoke at our departmental colloquium about the ecology and evolution of visual signals in birds.
- AUGUST: Elliot has returned from a year at the Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution at Stockholm University. During this time he published an article about cultural genealogies in The New Inquiry called "Selling Roots".
He also gave a presentation on cultural genealogies at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and on cultural attractiveness at the 2013 meeting of the European Human Behavior & Evolution Association and the International Conference on Social Dilemmas in Switzerland. See Elliot's poster from ICSD.
- JULY: Several members of our lab went to the Animal Behavior Society national meeting in Boulder, Colorado. Our student presentations were:
- Aaron: Owen, M.C. and D.C.Lahti, "Sexual selection in the invasive small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus)." (Talk)
- Chenghui: Ju, C., F.C. Geller, and D.C.Lahti, "Characterizing bird song diversity between individuals and populations: a computational approach." (Talk)
- Franny: Geller, F.C., C. Ju, and D.C. Lahti, "Late social influence on crystallization in a wild house finch." (Poster)
- JUNE: Simon graduated from Queens College, CUNY, with a BA in Biology!
- MAY: Khaleda received a student grant from the Animal Behavior Society, and two grants from Queens College (Dean's Travel Fund and Alumni Association Fund), to attend and present her research at the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society this year in Boulder, Colorado.
- APRIL: Several of us went to the CABI (CUNY Animal Behavior Initiative) Conference at Hunter College. The following students presented:
- Aaron: "Sexual dimorphism in the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus): implications for sexual selection" (Talk)
- Chenghui: "Study of songs of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) on the East Coast" (Poster).
Chenghui won the award for the best poster presentation at CABI!
- Khaleda: "A day in the life of a male African village weaverbird (Ploceus cucullatus)" (Poster)
- APRIL: Franny launched her new website: check it out!
- MARCH: Our lab hosted Dave Lohman, a biologist at City College CUNY, who spoke in our departmental colloquium about the ecology, evolution, biogeography, and conservation of butterflies in Southeast Asia.
- MARCH: Aaron is now a Fulbright Scholar! He was awarded a fellowship to study the ecology and behavior of the small Indian mongoose in India later this year. He will be collaborating with Dr.
Yadvendradev Jhala at the Wildlife Institute of India.
- MARCH: Our lab hosted Steve Johnson, an ornithologist and environmental consultant. Steve received his PhD in biology from the University of Massachusetts, and now heads up Laurentide Ecological Consultants with his wife Lori. Steve spoke to us about his research on the syntax of robin song. Steve is one of our collaborators.
- FEBRUARY: Our lab hosted Javier Monzon, who received his PhD from Stonybrook University for his work on the landscape genomics of northeastern coyotes. He presented his research to us and continued our ongoing collaboration on the genetic basis and rapid evolution of plumage and song in canaries under artificial selection.
- FEBRUARY: Our lab hosted Daniel Mann, a CUNY graduate student in theoretical linguistics, who spoke to us about his research and the possibility of applying evolutionary theory to the cultural evolution of language.
- FEBRUARY: Aaron received a Doctoral Student Research Grant from the CUNY Graduate Center for this spring.
- JANUARY: Our lab hosted John Waldman, naturalist, ecologist, and author of Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, among other books. We discussed Heartbeats with John during lab meeting.
- AUGUST: The first two students have left the Lahti Lab after graduating.
We are proud that both have moved onto excellent Ph.D. programs in biology!
- JULY: Aaron published a paper based on his undergraduate research at Northern Illinois University:
- MAY: Congratulations to our lab graduates! Maureen received her bachelor's degree in biology, and Bobby received a second bachelor's degree.
- MAY: Franny joined the Ph.D. program in biology at the CUNY Graduate Center and will continue her research on cultural evolution in house finches as a doctoral student.
- APRIL: Aaron was elected to both the CUNY Graduate Center's Graduate Council, as a representative for the Biology program, and the CUNY Graduate Center's Advisory Committee for the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEB) subprogram of Biology.
- MARCH: Maureen presented her Pipeline Thesis at the CUNY Pipeline Conference at the CUNY Graduate Center on 3/10: Maureen Pereyra & Uri Samuni “The role of nitric oxide in the bacterial killing during oxidative stress”.
Aaron published a paper based on his Masters research at Purdue:
- JANUARY: Franny gave an oral presentation at the annual QC Biology Department Research Symposium, and then later at the American Museum of Natural History Lang Science Program. Her talk was entitled "Mechanisms of cultural divergence in the eastern house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) population."
- JANUARY: Khaleda joined the Queens College Masters program in biology.
- JULY: Aaron spoke at the Society for the Study of Evolution conference in Oklahoma, and the joint meeting of
the Animal Behavior Society and the International Ethological Society in Indiana. His talk, which was based on his Purdue Masters research and was coauthored by K. Rohrer and R. Howard, was "Female preference for a novel male phenotype in zebrafish (Danio rerio)".
- JUNE: Maureen was awarded a CUNY Pipeline Program Fellowship. This fellowship, supported by the Office of Educational
Opportunity and Diversity Programs at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, prepares students from underrepresented groups for doctoral studies.
- JUNE: We have been awarded an NSF grant for a collaborative project with Stefano Ghirlanda of Brooklyn College. The project, "Multi-ancestor coalescent theory for cultural evolution", represents the major part of Elliot's dissertation research, and the award will fund Chenghui for the remainder of her graduate career.
- MAY: Our first three lab members defended honors undergraduate research theses, and graduated! All three will be staying on and continuing to work on their projects.
- Khaleda: "Mate attraction dominates the behavior of a colonially breeding bird"
- Stephanie: "A comparative study of the moral prohibitions of the Wolof and Bambara peoples of West Africa"
- Seema: "Ethnobotany of Janjangbureh Island, The Gambia, West Africa"
- APRIL: Elliot was awarded two back-to-back NSF fellowships, that will fully fund him for the remainder of his graduate career: the Graduate Research Fellowship, and the GK-12, The Graduate STEM Fellowship in K-12 Education.
- MARCH: Stephanie was awarded one of only 25 fellowships at the Traveler's Summer Research Fellowship Program at Cornell University for this coming summer.
- MARCH: Franny and Khaleda presented posters at the Queens College chapter of Sigma Xi poster session on 3/24/11. Franny's was "A Virtual Guide to the Flora of Awash National Park", and Khaleda's was "Mate Attraction Dominates the Behavior of a Colonially Breeding Bird".
- FEBRUARY: Elliot was invited and awarded a scholarship to the Santa Fe Institute's Complex System Science seminar in June; he also started the NYC Cultural Evolution Group this month.
- DECEMBER: The Online Bibliography of Environmental Thought, managed by our lab and funded by the International Society of Environmental Ethics, launched on 12/28/10! It can be found at www.isee-obet.org.
- DECEMBER: Our lab was the cover story in the Queens College magazine FYI. Here's the article.
- SEPTEMBER: Before she even has finished her masters degree, Wendy was offered and has accepted a position of biology teacher at the Bronx High School of Science, one of the best and most prestigious high schools in the nation (4th, according to U.S. News & World Report).
- JULY - AUGUST: We had a summer research trip to Ethiopia this summer!
- David and April collected data on Rüppell's weaver egg variability, and conducted egg recognition experiments on that species.
- Khaleda recorded Rüppell's and lesser masked weavers (despite what field guides say, they do have distinctive songs!), and discovered several eclipse-plumage birds singing.
- Khaleda and Rita obtained HD video recordings of a village weaver colony, which they will use for focal animal observations in the lab.
- Rita completed field research on the effect of hybridization on fitness of hamadryas and olive baboons.
- We gathered materials for a Guide to the Natural History of Awash National Park.
- We will be supporting two more African naturalists, Tsyon and Girum.
- We have made plans for exciting collaboration with the founder of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr. Yirmed Demeke.
- JUNE - JULY: Elliot was awarded a scholarship and attended the 15th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics at the University of Washington.
- JUNE: Elliot presented "The phylogenetics of song characters in the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)" at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution in Portland, Oregon.
We are always looking for new people to think and work with us, whether undergraduate, masters or doctoral students, or postdoctoral research associates. If you are interested in joining the lab, please email me a brief statement of your interests and your cv. If you are an undergraduate or coursework masters student, please also fill out and attach this form to your email:
Join the Lahti Lab: Application for Undergraduates and Masters Students
See our Lab Members and the Research pages for ideas as to the various kinds of work we do. Below are some particular opportunities in our lab-- can you help?
At this time we are especially looking for a
postdoctoral avian molecular ecologist.
This position entails:
- Spearheading an unbelievable new research project (I'm talking almost as good as discovering a time machine) on evolution in an introduced species, that can be completed during the postdoctoral tenure
- Teaching the laboratory section of an undergraduate biology course
- Managing a brand new molecular lab, including having as many undergraduate and graduate students as you want, to work on whatever you want
Please email me if you are interested.
Volunteer or Academic Credit Positions:
WANTED: Anyone Interested in the Environment
for self-paced independent work
Our lab is spearheading a new online resource supported by the International Society of Environmental Ethics. The Online Bibliography of Environmental Thought (OBET) will be the world’s largest gateway to literature relating humans and the natural world.
It is scheduled to launch in December 2010.
I am looking for people to participate in the development of this internet resource!
No experience necessary.
You can work as little or as much as you like, whenever you like. You can work from wherever you are in the world. I will send you all the materials you need. Any work you do will be acknowledged permanently on the OBET web interface.
Please email me if you are interested!
You can read more about OBET on my Outreach page.
WANTED: Anyone Interested in Classic Literature
for self-paced independent work
I am developing a series of mobile apps on major works of classic literature.
I am looking for people to participate in several ways,
including cataloguing quotes and transcribing recorded information.
No experience necessary.
You can work as little or as much as you like, whenever you like. You can work from wherever you are in the world. I will send you all the materials you need. Any work you do will be acknowledged permanently in the app credits.
Please email me if you are interested!