Benedict Lab

Animal Communication and Social Behavior

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Lauryn Benedict

Associate Professor
lauryn.benedict |at|
UNC faculty page

I study topics related to animal social behavior and communication. I do research that is
primarily field-based but incorporates computer analyses of sound recordings and genetic
analyses of population social structure. My field studies use a combination of observational and experimental approaches, but always begin with
a firm grounding in natural history.

Undergraduate Students:

Paul McPhail is a senior biology and anthropology major. He is conducting research examining cliff swallow nest parasitism and rock wren behavior.

Yessica Rodriguez is a current sophomore undergraduate pursuing her degree in biology with an emphasis in Pre-Med. She is enthusiastic to begin research in this lab focusing on song types for Rock Wrens. While not in the research lab, she enjoys exploring local coffee shops and re-watching episodes of Parks and Recreation. 

Kelsey Moran and Kasha Strong are conducting research focused on the flock cohesion function of avian pluamge color patches.



Devyn Bailey (top, L), Megan Heier (top, R), Nick Godlove (bottom, L) and Paul McPhail (bottom, R) presenting at UNC's 2016 Research Day

Gradute Students:

Nadje Najar
nadje.najar |at|

Nadje is interested in the behavioral ecology of bird vocalizations, particularly in oscine birds. When not working she enjoys bird watching (especially birding by ear),wildlife photography and pillaging dungeons in MMOs. She received her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology: Neurobiology at UC Berkeley and is currently working on her Ph.D. at UNC.

Stephanie Pitt
pitt9354 |at|

Stephanie is an enthusiastic conservation biologist whose main focus is birds and their behavior. She will be conducting research on rock wrens to investigate the implications of repertoire size of male songs on fitness and territory defense. As a graduate from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Zoology she is glad to be back in Colorado. In her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, birding, and anything outdoors.

Karina Sanchez
karina.sanchez |at|

Karina is a bird-nerd interested in studying bird behavior, particularly in urban environments.  In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Henley. She received her B.S in Biology from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Biological Education at UNC. 

Lab Alumni

Graduate Students:

TJ Hathcock - M.S. 2017 - Thesis: Vocal Coordination of Male and Female Canyon Wrens

Nora Covy - M.S. 2016 - Thesis: Rock Climbing and Avian Cliff Communities: The Effects of Climbing Use on Avian Diversity and Behavior in Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, Colorado

Nathanial Warning - M.S. 2014 - Thesis: Canyon and Rock Wren Coexistence in the Northern Colorado Foothills

Undergraduates: Megan Heier, Nick Godlove, Devyn Bailey, Annie Lin, Hannah Best, Kelsey Eickelman, Rhaya Espe, Carissa King, Daynia Lashaway, Cynthia Murguia, Becky Nowak, Xuan Mai Phan, Anne Rose, Lauren Rudman, Nathan Sheppard, Christi Stuchel

Left to Right: Becky Nowak, Christi Stuchel, Nat Warning, Lauryn Benedict, Anne Rose, TJ Hathcock

Lab Superpowers

Past field assistants

Luke Robinson

Jay McEntee
Wendy Fair
Sarah Knutie

University of Northern Colorado - School of Biological Sciences

photos: Wendy Fair, Lauryn Benedict