Current Lab Members

Bruce Lyon (Principal Investigator)

Bruce's Mugshot

Bruce likes coffee, birds, and the Daily Show.




Theadora Block (PhD Student)

Theadora_mug_shot.jpgTheadora started working with Bruce and Alexis as an undergraduate at  UCSC. She returned to study golden-crowned sparrows full time.  Theadora is generally obsessed with birds and interested in behavioral ecology. Learn more about her here. Email: theadorab(at)





Past Lab Members


Cara Thow (PhD Student) 

Cara's mugshot

Cara is interested in conspecific brood parasitism and social selection. For her PhD Cara studied  brood parasitism in Wood Ducks in a collaboration between the Lyon lab and John Eadie at UC Davis. Email her for more information.

Joe Sapp (PhD Student)

Joe's mugshotJoe came to the Lyon lab by way of the wonderful training he got in Mary Power's lab at UC Berkeley. Joe is interested in social parasitisms and his Ph.D. is focused on the aggressive interactions exhibited by the "slave-making" or Amazon ant, Polyergus mexicanus (formerly P. breviceps) as it competes for its Formica hosts in the Sierra Nevada. Email Joe.

Nina Nowshiravani Arnberg (PhD Student)

Nina's mugshot

Nina's dissertation incorporated science and education. She used molecular tools to study kin structure in wintering populations of Golden-Crowned Sparrows located at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, findings recently published in Molecular Ecology. Her research in education focused on teaching argumentation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. In Fall 2015, Nina joined the Menlo School science faculty and also directs the school's M-BEST program, supporting girls in science and engineering. 

EMAIL: ninavani (at) gmail (dot) com

Daizaburo (Dai) Shizuka (Ph.D. 2009)

Dai's MugshotDai is interested in ecological, evolutionary and cognitive basis of social interactions. His dissertation research focused on various strategies by which parents regulate family size in American coots. Dai is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Learn more about

Dai here.
email: daishizuka(at)



Alexandra (Alex) Rose (Ph.D. 2009)

Alex's MugshotAlex is interested in exploring patterns in avian clutch size. In particular, her dissertation research is focused on understanding to what extent avian taxa show a latitudinal gradient in clutch size and the potential role for day length to explain that pattern. Learn more about Alex here.




Elise Feree (Ph.D. 2007)

Elise's MugshotElise's dissertation focused on how mate attractiveness affects female investment in their offspring. Her work contributed to connecting sexual selection with the study of parental care by integrating extra-pair paternity and sex ratio to understand parental investment in eggs and chicks. Elise is currently a Lecturer at the Clairmont Colleges in California. Check Elise's current lab webpage here.



Alexis Chaine (Ph.D. 2006)

Alexis's MugshotAlexis studied sexually selected traits in lark buntings. His most exciting finding was to show that female choice for male traits fluctuated across years, a phenomenon that mutes the overall strength of sexual selection on male traits by mate choice. He also showed that multiple signals are involved in sexual selection, both in the context of mate choice and intrasexual selection. He is currently at CNRS Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique



Jeff Barna (M.Sc. 2004)

Jeff's MugshotJeff's thesis focused on understanding the causes and consequences of unusually high male parental care in Lark Buntings, a short-grass prairie species. Although sexual selection is strong in Lark Buntings, with high levels of extra-pair paternity, males share in both incubation and chick feeding. Jeff now works for an environmental consulting company in Portland Oregon.



Main Collaborators

John Eadie

Bob Montgomerie