We use a synthetic movement ecology framework to understand how wild, long-lived vertebrates integrate physiological and behavioral strategies in unpredictable environments -- from regulation of heart beats, to social foraging and migration. 4 main questions span immune responses to continental migration decisions of groups: 1) What physiological and behavioral trade-offs do individuals make in fluctuating environments? 2) How do energy landscapes affect behavioral decisions, and what are the costs? 3) How does the physiology and immune state of an individual influence their social group? 4) How do animals integrate social information with their own experience in unpredictable environments?
The lab is led by Dr. Teague O'Mara. He likes to call himself an integrative biologist. He focuses on animal movement that is powered by natural history to understand how animals are capable of incredible lifestyles and the tradeoffs that they make. Teague started off as a primatologist, but has gradually moved into using bats as study organisms. This taxonomic promiscuity has eventually led to studies on birds and shrews, reinforcing the idea that he just can't make up his mind and that there are too many fun things to work on to stick to a single discipline.
Photo: Teague examining a common noctule (Nyctalus noctula) as part of a long, collaborative study with Dina Dechmann at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. Photo courtesy Kamran Safi.