The Nowicki Lab at Duke University



Steve Nowicki

Bass Fellow and Professor

Steve's research explores proximate mechanisms underlying the evolution of behavior. He is especially interested in the structure, function, and evolution of animal communication systems, using bird song as a model system.

Susan Peters

Research Associate

Susan is an expert in the area of bird song learning and development. Her current research addresses questions about the functions of song in adult birds and the effects of song development – particularly in different environmental conditions – on these functions.

Jill Soha

Associate Scholar

Jill's research is focused on comparative study of bird song learning, particularly its mechanisms and functional consequences. Before coming to Duke, she was Curator of the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics at The Ohio State University.

Eleanor Caves

Postdoctoral Associate

Eleanor is bringing her expertise in visual ecology to the lab's investigation of color perception in zebra finches. Learn more about Eleanor here.

Patrick Green

Postdoctoral Associate

Patrick is interested in animal signalling and sensory systems and is working in the Nowicki lab on categorical perception research. Learn more about Patrick here.

Matthew Zipple

Graduate Student Affiliate

Matthew (Alberts Lab) is broadly interested in animal social behaviors, including signalling and information extraction. He is collaborating with the Nowicki lab to investigate categorical perception of visual signals.

Katja Kochvar


Katja is a junior studying Biology and German with hopes of pursuing graduate school in ecology and animal behavior. When she's not singing and scrubbing cages with the sparrows, she enjoys playing on the Duke Women's Ultimate Frisbee team and exploring the great outdoors.

Lab Alumni
  Research Project Current Position
Rindy Anderson – Postdoc/RS 2007-2014 Signal reliability & female song preferences Assistant Professor, Florida Atlantic University
Barbara Ballentine – PhD 2006 Vocal performance and mate choice Associate Professor, Western Carolina University
Martin Beebee – PhD 2003 Sexual selection on multiple song types Martin Beebee Photography, Colorado Springs, CO
Elizabeth Derryberry – PhD 2007 Mechanisms of song evolution Assistant Professor, Tulane University
Renee Duckworth – PhD 2006 Plasticity in reproductive investment & behavior Associate Professor, University of Arizona
Bill Hoese – PhD 1998 Functional morphology of bird jaws Professor, Cal State Fullerton
Melissa Hughes – Postdoc 1994-96 Signal form and function Professor, College of Charleston
Jeremy Hyman – Postdoc 2001-06 Individual variation in aggression in birds Associate Professor, Western Carolina University
Silke Kipper – Postdoc 2004-05 Mate choice mechanisms in birds Senior Researcher, Technische Universität München
Casey Klofstad – Associate 2013-14 Human Social and Political Behavior Associate Professor, University of Miami
Rob Lachlan – Postdoc 2010-2013 Cultural evolution of bird song Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Irene Liu – PhD/Postdoc 2008-2016 Evolution of mating systems Associate Producer, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
Bernie Lohr – PhD 1995 Song production & perception Associate Professor, University of MD, Baltimore County
Sheila Patek – PhD 2001 Physics & evolution: animal fast movements Associate Professor, Duke University
Jeff Podos – PhD 1996 Mechanisms & evolution of vertebrate behavior Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Denise Pope – PhD 1998 Evolution of exaggerated & costly displays Program Coordinator, CIRTL
Jonathan Prather – Postdoc 2005-08 Neural mechanisms of behavior Associate Professor, University of Wyoming
Kimberly Rosvall – PhD 2009 The evolution of female aggression Assistant Professor, Indiana University
John Rowden – PhD 1996 Evolution of Australian parrot display behavior Director, Community Conservation, Audubon Society
Kendra Sewall – Postdoc 2010-12 Behavioral plasticity & neural mechanisms Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
Christopher Sturdy – Postdoc 2000-01 Neuroethology of bird song Professor, University of Alberta
Mark Westneat – Postdoc 1991-92 Systematics, biomechanics & biodiversity Professor, University of Chicago
Stacey Weiss – PhD 1999 Reproductive behavior & animal communication Professor, University of Puget Sound
Tammy Windfelder – PhD 1997 Primate communication & social behavior Associate Professor, Drew University

Nowicki Lab
Department of Biology
Box 90338, Duke University
Durham, NC  27708-0338  USA
Lab phone: 919-684-6950