Welcome to the Webster Lab!

Exploring the ecology, evolution and mechanisms of animal reproductive behavior and sexual signals, and educating others about our natural world and its importance to our daily lives.

We study animal social behavior from an evolutionary perspective, particularly focusing on the processes and outcomes of sexual selection. Our work is integrative, in that we examine issues from both ultimate and proximate perspectives. This research combines intensive fieldwork with genetic, hormonal and other analyses in the lab, to unlock the secret lives of birds and other taxa.

We are part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as well as the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior.


Lab News

Mike is currently on sabbatical in Australia, where he is doing fieldwork on fairy-wrens and trying to catch up on some writing.

Welcome to new postdocs Rusty Ligon and Gavin Leighton, who join us with support from prestigious NSF fellowships. Rusty will be studying the evolution of displays in the birds of paradise, and Gavin is focused on the role of sociality in selecting for complex vocalizations in birds.

We are also happy to welcome back two WebLab alums: former PhD students Jenélle Dowling and Becky Cramer join the lab, but now as postdocs!

We are happy to announce that Bret Pasch has landed an excellent tenure track position at Northern Arizona University. We’re happy for Bret, but sad to see him go!

Grad student Jay Falk has also moved to WebLab, where he will be co-advised by Dustin Rubenstein (Columbia University) on a project examining the evolution of male-like plumage in female hummingbirds.

Congrats to Emma Greig and Dan Baldassarre, who just had a (very nice) paper come out in Evolution, with a cover photo by our own Joe Welklin! And also to Jenélle Dowling for her paper , recently accepted in
Behavioral Ecology




Banner photo by Graeme Chapman