My research aims to understand the role of social learning/ cultural evolution in shaping animal vocal signals at both ecological and evolutionary time frames. I am also interested in how social learning is modulated by other evolutionary factors and the possible macro-evolutionary consequences of these processes. I tackle these questions by studying the communication systems of neotropical taxa, making use of 'single species' behavioral studies, comparative phylogenetic methods and cutting-edge acoustic analyses.
During my PhD I worked on hummingbird signaling behavior, and also explored the evolution of learned vocal signals in other groups using comparative analyses. My research as a postdoc at the Lab of Ornithology , Cornell University, focused on expanding these research avenues by looking at the evolution of learned vocalizations in hummingbirds from a phylogenetic comparative perspective. Currently I am exploring the development of social vocalizations in communal roosting bats as a postdoc at the Chaverri Lab, University of Costa Rica.
I am also deeply involved in the development of computational tools for bioacoustic analyses. Grace Smith-Vidaurre and I have created the R package warbleR that provides functions to streamline high-throughput acoustic analysis of animal sounds. More recently, I made available two new R packages (Rraven and NatureSounds) that aim to simplify the use of R for bioacoustic research. New functions as well as other analyses are detailed in my blog Bioacoustics in R.
News section started on Oct-2017