In tropical rainforests the vast majority of plant species rely on animals to disperse their seeds and pollen. Our lab seeks to provide new answers to the long-standing questions of how and why different animals vary in the dispersal services they provide, and what the...Read More
Over a century ago, Charles Darwin provided a robust explanation for behavioral and morphological differences between the sexes, the theory of sexual selection. But how can we explain variation, and even discrete morphs, within a single sex of a single species? A major focus...Read More
The Gulf of Mexico remains a region in peril as the long-term effects of erosion, rising sea levels, anthropogenic disturbance such as oil spills and natural disasters like hurricanes combine to gradually deteriorate the ecosystem over time. While recent management efforts have...Read More
The tropics are home to more species of animal and plant than anywhere else on the planet, and many of these species are poorly known and/or threatened with extinction. Because we work primarily in the tropics, a core value of this lab is that our scientific research should...Read More
Welcome! Our lab works at the interface of ecology, behavior, evolution, and conservation biology. We focus on how the ecological and social environments that animals experience shape their behavior and ecology, and vice-versa. Active research in South America, Australasia, and the Gulf of Mexico includes plant-animal interactions, mating systems and signal evolution, movement ecology, and endangered species. Our lab takes a socially engaged approach that combines research with capacity building, training, and education in the biodiversity hotspots where we work.
Another summer has come and gone – lab members have travelled far and wide for field work and conferences, and have now returned to New Orleans for the fall semester.
We are excited to welcome our two new Ph.D students, John Jones and Sarah Khalil!
John joined the lab with funding from a Louisiana Board of Regents Fellowship. He got an early start on research with a preliminary field experience with fairy wrens in Australia and Papua New Guinea this past summer. Now he is adjusting to the heat of New Orleans while preparing to conduct more field work in Papua New Guinea during the start of the spring semester.
Sarah is funded by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She returned at the start of the summer from a field season in Kenya, finishing her research at Columbia University studying superb starlings. She later joined the IRES crew for a preliminary field season in Australia, and now is excited to be in New Orleans where she gets to escape the cold winters of New York.
Sam returned from the field in Australia, finishing her last field season while leading the NSF IRES crew. While down under, she was awarded best student oral presentation at the Queensland Ornithological Conference for her presentation on non-breeding season space use in male fairywrens.
Brock completed another field season in the northern Gulf, tracking a cohort of breeding brown pelicans while continuing long-term demographic surveys on Raccoon Island.
Erik returned from Papua New Guinea and spent the remainder of the summer digging into analyzing his data from the field season.
After finishing up their respective field seasons, the bird side of the lab all met up at the end of the summer in Washington D.C. for the North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC 2016). The lab was well represented at the conference – Sam presented work on how the environment influences sociality in fairywrens, Brock presented some of his preliminary findings, Erik presented his work on the White-shouldered fairy wrens, and John presented on his previous master’s work.
Luke and Jordan’s study “Negative frequency-dependent selection for rare genotypes promotes genetic diversity of a tropical palm” was accepted for publication in Ecology Letters (link to PDF)! Another paper on the “Diversity of palm communities at different spatial scales in a recently fragmented tropical landscape” (Browne and Karubian 2016) was published in the Palms – emblems of tropical forests special issue of the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. Luke finished up his last field season of his dissertation this summer with Tulane undergrad Mike Mahoney, hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and presented at the Ecuadorian Ornithology Congress with colleagues from Ecuador.
In New Orleans, Zoë completed a pilot project examining neutral genetic differentiation of 8 populations across Ecuador on both sides of the Andes. She is now preparing her prospectus and plans to be in the field during the spring semester to do extensive sampling of Oenocarpus bataua along both sides of the Andes.
Jordan had an active summer, with international travel to Australia where he helped to provide training to our current group of NSF-funded IRES students and to Ecuador, where he gave a presentation at the V Ecuadorian Ornithology Congress in Zamora. He also spent time working with Renata Ribeiro and Stephanie McClelland studying mockingbirds right here in New Orleans. He published a paper (Karubian et al. 2016) with Luke Browne, Malinda Chambers (a former Tulane undergrad and 4+1 MS student), and local Ecuadorian residents in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.Read More
Spring has come yet again, which means a few things here in New Orleans – Jazz Fest and Karubian lab website updates!
Huge congrats to Jenny Hazlehurst for defending her dissertation and publishing one of her chapters – Nectar robbing impacts pollinator behavior but not plant reproduction – in Oikos (Hazlehurst and Karubian 2016)! Jenny is now continuing on as a post-doc at UC Davis.
Sam Lantz and Jordan published the first chapter of Sam’s thesis in Auk (Lantz and Karubian 2016), focusing on adventitious molt in fairywrens. This paper was highlighted on the Audubon blog. In the summer she headed back to Australia to lead the NSF IRES crew.
Luke Browne along with Ecuadorian colleagues and Jordan, traveled to Colombia for the World Palm Symposium to present work on the effects of habitat loss on palm tree diversity in Ecuador. He spent the rest of the summer completing another field season in Ecuador. While spending the fall and spring semesters in Washington DC / College Park, Maryland, he presented on conservation and research in the Chocó rainforests of Ecuador to the AAAS Biodiversity Affinity group in Washington DC.
Erik Enbody advanced to candidacy in the fall and received grants from the National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant, Animal Behavior Society, and the Tulane Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to continue his field work on white-shouldered fairy wrens in Papua New Guinea, where he spent his spring semester. Check out his blog from the field for more details and cool pictures!
Brock Geary advanced to candidacy in February and was awarded the Tulane Gunning Memorial Student Research Award, as well as winning a grant from the AOU to study brown pelican foraging behavior. He presented at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Research Symposium and published 2 papers from his masters work: Movements and survival of juvenile reddish egrets Egretta rufescens on the Gulf of Mexico coast (Geary et al. 2015) and Measurements of Adult and Hatch-year Reddish Egrets (Kozcur etal. 2015).
Zoë Díaz-Martin received the Lewis and Clark Award for Field Exploration to do field research in Ecuador. She finished her coursework and decided on a dissertation topic, which includes studying patterns and drivers of genetic variation and differentiation in populations of Oenocarpus bataua on a landscape scale. This summer she will be staying on campus to complete a pilot study.
Meredith Williams and Emma Saltzberg received a grant from the Newcomb College Institute and Newcomb-Tulane College to study the northern Mockingbird in New Orleans with visiting MS student Stephanie McClelland.
Jordan, former post-doc Kym, and colleagues published a new paper on the genetic consequences of seed dispersal to sleeping trees by white-bellied spider monkeys (Karubian et al. 2015). Jordan and Sam Lantz also published original research on flamingos in the journal Zoo Biology with lead authorship by Nathan Frumkin, a former Tulane undergrad and 4+1 student. Nathan gathered the data for this article while taking the course ‘Experimental Animal Behavior’ at Tulane.
The Lab received funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ‘Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act’ to purchase rainforest habitat in northwest Ecuador together with our in-country partners FCAT.
We are also very happy to welcome Sarah Khalil and John Jones as new PhD students to the lab, who will be starting in Fall 2016!Read More