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Amazon Warriors of the Laskowski Lab

Dr. Kate Laskowski

Kate is interested in all things behavior, fish and variance partitioning. Kate did her B.S. (2006) at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and her Ph.D (2013) at the University of Illinois. After graduation, she moved to Berlin Germany where she worked at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries until starting at UC Davis in 2019.

email: klaskowski .at. ucdavis dot edu

Karen Kacevas (Lab Manager)

Karen is interested in understanding how animals interact with their environment and what drives them to make specific choices under certain situations (i.e. predation, communication, etc). She also strongly believes in diversity, equity and inclusion. Besides loving science and animals, Karen also likes to swing dance, paint and play soccer during her free time.

email: kkacevas .at. ucdavis dot edu

Postdoctoral researchers

Dr. Chia-chen Chang

Chia-chen’s main research question is how individuals differ in their behavior in the same environment. Chia-chen mostly focuses on the genetic and molecular aspects. Before joining this lab, she obtained her PhD from the National University of Singapore, focusing on the aggressive behavior of jumping spiders. She then did her first postdoc there, working on the human’s connection to nature and sustainable behavior.

email: chichang .at. ucdavis dot edu

Chia-chen's website

Dr. Ammon Perkes

Ammon is most interested in how individual behavioral decisions govern the formation of social groups, and vice versa. He completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania studying songbird courtship, and his current work focuses on the winner effect and social dominance in the Amazon mollies. Ammon loves rock climbing, dungeons and dragons, and automated tracking of animal behavior.

Email: aperkes .at. ucdavis dot edu

Ammon's website

Ph.D. Students

Jon Aguinaga

Jon Aguiñaga (Population Biology)

In general, Jon is interested in exploring how information acquired from the social environment is combined with personal information in order to influence behavioral decisions. He believes Bayesian modeling approaches may be useful in this endeavor and will inform well designed experiments. Previously, he modeled the effects of social information on the accuracy of individual assessments using stochastic simulations in R at Washington State University with Dr. Gomulkiewicz and Dr. Watts. He loves long drives with good music!

email: jaguinaga .at. ucdavis dot edu

Kirsten Sheehy

Kirsten Sheehy (Animal Behavior)

Broadly, Kirsten is interested in the variability and persistence of plastic behavior in both time and space. She is interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive variation in behavior and this variation may, in turn, impact the surrounding environment. Kirsten believes that without diversity, equity, and inclusion it is impossible to conduct good science. She is committed to utilizing activism and outreach to make academia accessible and welcoming to all people.

email: kasheehy .at. ucdavis dot edu

Sanaa Khan (Population Biology)

Sanaa is interested in how environment and genetics influence decision making relating to social interactions. She hopes to explore female competition and aggression, as well as potential cooperative behavior in amazon mollies. She did her masters at NISER, India focusing on interspecific interactions between Streptomyces bacteria and termites. She has also worked on modelling cooperation in the context of biparental care. She enjoys reading science fiction and spending time with cats (dogs will also do in the absence of cats)!

email: sqkhan .at. ucdavis dot edu

Undergrad Researchers

Liam Bassler

Liam is a fourth year studying Biology. He hopes to go to graduate school for ecology. He grew up in the small town of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierras and enjoys skiing, wake-surfing, and reading.

email: lrbassler .at. ucdavis dot edu

Amelia Engelsgjerd

Amelia is interested in exploring new topics and learning as much as her mind can absorb. She loves spending time in nature and playing her violin or singing whatever is stuck in her brain at the moment. She is excited to expand more in the research field and be more involved in the scientific world!

email: alengelsgjerd .at. ucdavis dot edu

Mia Thuilot

Mia is a third year studying Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation biology. She is interested in animal behavior and how animals make decisions. She is thrilled to work on two different experiments in the Laskowski Lab, one being animal behavior and another on brain stimulation. In her free time she likes to lay in the quad and read or listen to music!

email: methuilot .at. ucdavis dot edu

Nishika Raghavan

Nishika is a second year majoring in genetics and genomics. She is excited to work on research at the Laskowski Lab as she is interested in learning more on why animals behave the way they do. During her free time, she loves to dance, read, and spend time with her friends and family.

email: niraghavan .at. ucdavis dot edu

Lab Alumni

Monse Garcia (Undergrad Researcher)

Candice Mitchell (Undergrad researcher)

John Liu (Undergrad fish whisperer)