Liebl Lab

Department of Biology
University of South Dakota
Research in the Liebl lab is broadly focused on individual variation and understanding to what degree and how the environment can influence phenotypes (above and beyond the genotype).  We study the effects of both developmental and current environment on physiology, behavior, and whole organism fitness.  We tend to use integrative approaches, combining laboratory and field studies to determine not only the influence of the environment but also the mechanistic underpinnings driving that variation.

Maternal Effects in Chestnut Crowned Babblers

The chestnut-crowned babbler (Pomatostomus ruficeps) is a cooperatively breeding species endemic to the semi-arid and arid zone in south-eastern Australia.  In collaboration with Dr. Andy Russell and Dr. Simon Griffith, we have been studying a population of babblers at Fowlers Gap Research Station.  Through this long term dataset (12+ years!) using cross-fostering, we are able to ask questions regarding the effect of developmental environment on adult behavior and fitness.  

Specifically, we are interested in how group structure (helper number, genetic structure) during offspring development and adulthood influences adult provisioning decisions.  Additionally, given the extreme environments encountered throughout their range, we can ask many unique questions about developmental temperatures and effects later in life.

Visit here for a short documentary on our work in the outback, compiled by Niall Stopford.

More coming soon!