Graduate students in the Lacey lab generally design, conduct, and manage their own independent research projects based on questions, study systems, and field sites of their choosing. While lab projects are broadly connected by a focus on behavioral ecology and population biology, each lab member explores related questions of their own interest; current research falls broadly into the following topics, but many other subjects have been explored by past lab members.

Research Sites

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Behavioral ecology of Ctenomys rodents

Dr. Lacey has worked for over 20 years at a number of research sites in Argentina exploring the behavior, ecology, genetics, and physiology of tuco-tucos, with an emphasis on the social tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis). She currently maintains one of the only captive colonies of social tuco-tucos in the world.

Relevant researchers: Eileen Lacey

Vertebrate responses to environmental change

This work explores the mechanisms that animals have for coping with environmental change, including behavioral (diet, space use, activity budgets, life history changes), genetic, physiological, and morphological adjustments. Study systems include chipmunks, woodrats, Peromyscus species, and dark-eyed juncos, with a current emphasis on field sites in the Sierra mountains of California. This research builds off of previous Grinnell Resurvey Project data collected by the MVZ.

Relevant researchers: Tali Hammond, Mike Holmes, Katie LaBarbera, Rachel Walsh

Behavioral genomics

Lab projects on behavioral genomics seek to identify the genetic underpinnings of behavioral traits like mating systems and sociality. Field work has been conducted on a broad range of rodents (including Peromyscus species, Ctenomys species, and Pseudomys species) at field sites in California, Argentina, and Australia. While immunogenes like MHC have been emphasized, current work seeks to explore the entire genome.

Relevant researchers: Jeremy Chase Crawford, Jesyka Melendez

Past Research

Projects conducted by Lacey Lab alumni include:
-Vocal communication and social behavior of California towhees (Lauryn Benedict)
-Evolution of MHC and Mating systems in Peromyscus (Matthew MacManes)
-Polyandry and parental investment in group living tamarins (Samuel Diaz Munoz)
-Selective factors for theevolution of sociality in the spiny rat (Wly dos Santos)
-Measuring social stress in a communally breeding rodent (Julie Woodruff)
-Competition & cooperation in male lance-tailed manakins (Emily H. DuVal)
-Mating system and male reproductive behavior in wild turkies (Alan H. Krakauer)
-Evolution of recognition systems, behavioral ecology of brood parasites (Mark Hauber)
                                                                      -Spatial dynamics and group living in California voles (Maria M. Soares)
                                                                -Social and metapopulation dynamics of gundis (Rodentia: Ctenodactylidae) (Karen J. Nutt)