ASU-SFI Center Postdoctoral Fellow
Although individuals often benefit from social living, they must also compete with group members for limited resources, and these interactions can be costly. Social structures, like dominance hierarchies, can reduce the costs of competition with group members, and different species have evolved a range of methods for structuring these interactions and relationships within groups. Despite this widespread variation in sociality across the animal kingdom, we have limited understanding of how complex social groups evolved, and why they evolved in some species, but not others.
Elizabeth studies how the social interactions of individuals lead to the wide range of complex animal societies we observe in the field and lab. Her research focuses on how and why animals structure social relationships, how feedback between structured interactions among individuals and emergent collective social dynamics shape social behavior, and how different social structures evolve. Elizabeth uses a combination of observational, experimental, theoretical, and computational techniques to determine how the behavior of individuals leads to the formation of group-level social structures. Much of her work to date has focused on avian sociality, where she investigated how individuals interact in social birds such as parrots. In her future work, she plans to continue her work with parrots, while also expanding her taxonomic focus to understand broader patterns in the evolution of sociality.
Prior to joining SFI, Elizabeth completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee. She holds a PhD in Biology from New Mexico State University and a BA in Environmental Studies from McGill University.