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Hill Lab Alumni



   Dr. Adrian Surmacki (2010)
    Preening as a mechanism for change in plumage coloration in the House Finch
    Present Position: Assistant professor, Adam Mickiewi University, Poland
   Dr. Robin Vijayan (2008)
    Phylogeography of birds of the Southern Ghats, India
    Present Position: Faculty, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India

   Dr. Herman Mays (2000-2006)
    Genetic compatibility and mate choice
    Present Position: Curator of vertebrates, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
   Dr. Daniel Mennill (2002-2006)
    Vocal communication and avian mating systems
    Present Position: Associate Professor, University of Windsor
    Dr. Alex Badyaev (1999-2002)
     Ecological and evolutionary causes of inter- and intraspecific variation               
         in sexual dimorphism  
     Present Position: Professor, University of Arizona


Doctoral Students:

     Dr. Roy Ge (2013-2018)    

      Dissertation title: Understanding Ornamental Carotenoid Metabolism in the House         Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus).

      Present Position: Research Associate

     Dr. Ryan Weaver (2013-2018)    

      Dissertation title: Evolutionary and physiological processes involved in carotenoid

      coloration in animals

      Present Position: Post-doctoral researcher, University of Texas-Austin

     Dr. Becca (Koch) Adrian (2012-2017)    

      Dissertation title: Exploring the role of carotenoid pigments in physiological      

      function and color signals.

      Present Position: Research Professor, Monash University, Melbourne,


     Dr. Molly Staley (2010-2016)         
     Dissertation title: Mechanisms and evolution of disease resistance in birds
     Present Position: Instructer, Loyola University, Chicago

    Dr. Chris McClure (2007-2012)         
     Dissertation title: Challenging assumptions of methods used to monitor and study

     Present Position: Director of Global Conservation Science, Peregrine Fund

    Dr. Susan Balenger (2006-2011)         
     Dissertation title: Evolution of infection-induced changes in gene expression in the

         House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus
     Present Position: Assistant Professor, Univ. Mississippi

    Dr. Laura Estep (2008-2011)              
     Dissertation title: A multi-level analysis of the interactions between vectors, hosts,

         and habitats of EEEV
     Present Position: Research Associate, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
    Dr. Mark Liu (2003-2009)           
     Dissertation title: Genetic compatibility and ornamental color in Eastern Bluebirds
     Present Position: Researcher, Taiwan Endemic Species Institute

    Dr. John Steffen (2003-2009)
     Co-advised with Craig Guyer
     Dissertation title: Functionality of carotenoid pigmentation in Anolis lizards
     Present Position: Assistant professor, Shepherd University

    Dr. Kristy Farmer (2000-2006)
     Co-advised with Dr. Sharon Roberts
     Dissertation title: Co-evolution of Mycoplasma gallisepticum and a novel host,
         the house finch
     Present Position: Alabama Dep. Agriculture and Industries, State Diagnostic     
         Lab, Outreach Coordinator

    Dr. Stéphanie Doucet (2002-2006)
     Dissertation title: The evolution of sexual ornamentation in long-tailed manakins
     Present Position: Associate Professor, University of Windsor

    Dr. Kristen Navara (2000-2005)
     Co-advised with Dr. Mary Mendonça
     Dissertation title: Differential allocation of yolk content in birds: Do females play

     Present Position: Professor, University of Georgia

    Dr. Lynn Siefferman (1999-2005)
      Dissertation title: The signal function of structurally-based and pigment-based

          sexual ornaments in eastern bluebirds
     Present Position: Associate Professor, Appalacian State University

    Dr. Matt Shawkey (2001-2005)
     Dissertation title: Avian-microbe interactions in relation to sexual selection
     Present Position: Professor, University of Gent, Belgium

    Dr. Paul Nolan (1996-2002)
     Dissertation title: Song and plumage color as multiple ornaments in the house finch
     Present Position:  Professor, The Citadel


Master's Students:

    David Morris (2014)
     Thesis Title: Making hypotheses precise: applying the physical method and linear

         modeling to evolutionary genomics
     Present Position: Doctoral Student in physics

    Maria Constantini (2013)
     Thesis Title: The effects of color manipulation on provisioning rates in the         

         Eastern Bluebird
     Present Position: Field technician, Hawaii

    Alex Halasz (2013)
     Non-thesis Master's
     Present Position: Veterinary student

    Rain Fu (2012)
     Thesis Title: The effects of sequential stressors on HSP in the House Finch
     Present Position: Doctoral program in pharmacy, Auburn University

    Austin Mercadante (2010)
     Thesis Title: Status signaling and plumage coloration in the Eastern Bluebird
     Present Position: Medical school
    Brian Rolek (2009)
     Thesis Title: Microhabitat associations of wintering birds in a Southeastern         
         bottomland forest within the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain
     Present Position: Research Assistant, Archbold Biological Research Station

    Dr. Rusty Ligon (2009)
     Thesis Title: The function of breast spots and blue coloration in juvenile
     Present Postition: Postdoc, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
    Dr. Bailey McKay (2008)
     Thesis Title: Phylogeography of the Yellow-throated Warblers
     Present Postition: Postdoc at American Museum Natural History

    Dr. Michelle Beck (2003)
     Thesis Title: Mate-guarding and paternity in the house finch: interacting effects of

         song and plumage color.
     Present Postition: Postdoc, Virginia Tech University

    Leslie Cole (2002)
     Thesis Title: Female aggression in the house finch

     Present Position: Law

    Anne Dervan (2001)
     Thesis Title: The effects of hatch order and sex on nestling growth in the house

     Present Postition: High School teacher, Atlanta, GA

    Dr. Renée Duckworth (2000)
      Thesis Title: The effects of hormone manipulation on parasite resistance and
          immune parameters in the house finch
     Present Postition:  Assistant Professor, University of Arizona

    Dr. Barbara Ballentine (2000)
     Thesis Title: Song, mate guarding, and mate choice in the Blue Grosbeak
     Present Postition:  Assistant professor, University of West Georgia

    Dr. Andrew Stoehr (1999)
     Thesis Title: Testosterone and reproductive trade-offs in the House Finch
     Present Postition:  Faculty position, Denison University

    Dr. Kevin McGraw (1999)
     Thesis Title: The significance of male plumage coloration in mediating      
       reproductive success and social dominance in the House Finch
     Present Postition: Professor, Arizona State University

    Dr. Amber Keyser (1998)
     Thesis Title: Is structural color a reliable signal of quality in Blue Grosbeaks?      
     Present Postition: Children's book author, Portland, OR

    William Brawner (1997)
     Thesis Title: The effects of coccidial and mycoplasmal infection on plumage
       pigmentation in male House Finches: a test of the Hamilton-Zuk Hypothesis
     Present Postition: private DVM practice, Petvet, Auburn, AL

    Sheldon Plentovich (1997)
     Thesis Title: Habitat use by wintering Henslow's Sparrows in Baldwin Co. AL     
     Present Postition:  Endangered Species Specialist, USFWS

    Dr. Marjorie Tobias (1997)
     Thesis Title: A test of sensory bias models using tail length in the House Finch
     Present Postition: Faculty, Penn State - Beaver Campus, Geneva College

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