Our Work

“We argue that a question is meaningful if what we do or feel is changed by the answer”

Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, On Human Nature in The Dialectical Biologist.

In the F.L.A.I.R. Lab, we seek to understand the lives of animals using field-based observations and measurement of animal behavior, ecology, and morphology, statistical modeling, and close interdisciplinary engagement with ideas from evolutionary theory, queer and feminist science and technology studies, political ecology, philosophy and more.


Redesigning a field through curricular intervention: Ambika is working, alongside Melina and with support from Katie and other TAs, on redesigning the curriculum for the Animal Behavior course. We have several goals:

  1. to give students room to practice careful thought and clear communication.
  2. to ground our understanding of animal behavior in an understanding of complex systems.
  3. to incorporate critical cross-disciplinary inquiry bridging the natural and social sciences and humanities as foundational to the study of animal behavior.

In time, this work will find its way into Ambika’s book project (details forthcoming) as well as a collaborative effort at sharing our curriculum and materials in an as-yet-undetermined format (but Melina wants you to think of a suitcase that you can pick up and unpack to use as you wish in your own Animal Behavior classroom!).

Effects of incubation conditions on Sceloporus survival and behavior: Jenna, with assistance from Sarah and Yanru, is working on understanding the impact of varying incubation temperature and humidity on the early lives of Sceloporus lizards from Colorado. They’ve done the incredible hard work of setting up an animal room from scratch and will soon be reaping its rewards in data!

Effects of human activity on Sceloporus behavior: Katie is leading her first ever field season! With assistance from Dylan, Katie is examining the impact of human activity on the escape behavior and feeding behavior of Sceloporus lizards in the City of Boulder and Jefferson County Open Spaces and Mountain Parks. Next summer, she plans to extend this to examining the interaction of human presence with predator presence on feeding behavior!

Discipline Based Education Research: Jenna is leading our research, with some input from Ambika, on student responses to classroom methods such as co-teaching (how do students respond to different perspectives from different instructors?) and ungrading (how might ungrading impact students’ feeling of belonging?). We’re lucky to be in the same department as, and receive input from, DBER whiz Lisa Corwin!