Jeff Podos is a Professor in the Department of Biology at UMass. From 2011-2018 he served as Graduate Program Director and Leader for the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) graduate program. His research focuses on vocal behavior and evolution in songbirds, and has active research projects in the US, Ecuador, and Brazil. Click on the "research" tab above to read more about Jeff's research. Most every fall Jeff teaches an upper-level majors class in Animal Behavior, and most every spring he team-teaches a non-majors, general education course on the Biology of Social Issues. Jeff is a member of the editorial board of Advances in the Study of Behavior, and previously served as an editor for two journals, Animal Behaviour and Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. Since 2015 Jeff has served on the Executive Committee of the Animal Behavior Society, and is currently the society's Past President. Bonus reading:     PhD Cartoon Contest *  


Amy Strauss joined the Podos lab in Fall 2013. She hopes to pursue research on the evolution of complexity and diversity in songbird vocal behavior, looking specifically at the role that ecological factors play in shaping avian communication systems. During her undergraduate career at Whitman College, she performed research examining the effects of habitat on geographic patterns of song sharing in Dickcissels (Spiza americana) with Dr. Tim Parker. Prior to joining the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) graduate program here at UMass, Amy worked in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). * Follow Amy on Twitter!


Laura Hancock joined the Podos lab in 2018, and is co-advised by Kristina Stinson. For her PhD, Laura plans to think outside the nest and research the foraging behavior, roost use, and landscape-scale movement patterns of Townsend's big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii) in western Nevada. She is originally from Virginia and completed her bachelor's degree in biology at Christopher Newport University. Prior to joining the OEB program, Laura worked as a field technician for 6 months tracking & monitoring threatened lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae), which is when her bat obbsession first got started.


Katie Schroeder joined the Podos lab in 2018, and is co-advised by Luke Remage-Healey. Her PhD research will focus on the evolution, mechanisms, and sex differences of vocal learning and species recognition in songbirds. Prior to joining the OEB program at UMass, Katie completed her master’s degree at East Carolina University (ECU) studying factors affecting call structure, behavioral responses to calls of neighbors and strangers, and automated acoustic monitoring of the threatened king rail (Rallus elegans). While at ECU, Katie also conducted research on song variability in zebra finches and co-founded the Ornithology Club. * Follow Katie on Twitter!


João Menezes joined the Podos lab in Fall 2020. He is broadly interested in the evolution of communication traits involved in mate choice. More specifically, João wishes to understand what role the physical environment plays in the evolution of sexual signals. João is originally from Brazil and earned his Master’s degree from the University of São Paulo, where he studied the evolution of bird gestural displays using phylogenetic comparative methods. * Follow João on Twitter!



Lab Alum:


-- Andrew Hendry, Post-doc & General Nuisance, 2000-2

-- David Lahti, Post-doc 2003-9


-- Kara Belinsky, PhD 2008, co-advised with Bruce Byers

-- Ana Gabela, MS 2007

-- Eben Goodale, Research Associate, 2000-1 & 2008-9

-- Sarah Goodwin, PhD 2016

-- Dave Hof, PhD 2014

-- Sarah Huber, PhD 2007

-- Jesse McClure, PhD 2015

-- Dana Moseley, PhD 2013

-- Benjamin Taft, PhD 2010


-- Christine (Rega) Brodsky, 2007-2010

-- Matt Rich, 2008-2009

-- Joel Southall, 2001-2003

*please send Jeff your info if you'd like it posted!


Magnificant frigatebird in flight, Borrero Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos: