About Joel


Recent News

  • New Conference Presentation!
    • Slade J, Watson M, Kelly T, Bernards M, Garner S, and MacDougall-Shackleton EA. 2018. MHC-mediated mate choice and preen oil as a chemical signal of MHC similarity in song sparrows. Society of Integrated and Comparative Biology Meeting, San Francisco, California, USA.

About Joel, his interests, and hobbies.


Blue Ram

I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, specifically in a small coastal town called Musquodoboit Harbour. This small fishing community sparked my interests in ichthyology at a young age. I became heavily invested in the aquarium hobby. There were fish tanks throughout my childhood home. I was trying to breed many species, and even kept ethograms before I knew about the formal definition. My interest in fish behavior, diversity, and evolution inspired me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During my undergrad, I found behavioral ecology and evolution to be the most stimulating subjects. My cooperative program allowed me to do taxonomically-diverse research. However, it was not until I took a field-based ornithology course that I found a group of vertebrates that can be used as model organisms to answer questions about evolution and behavior. Since then, I have pursued research projects using birds to answer questions from parent-offspring communication to honest sexual signaling. I completed my MSc from Saint Mary’s University in 2012. I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution under the supervision of Dr. Beth MacDougall-Shackleton at the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, Canada. My Ph.D. research explores MHC-mediated mate choice and novel signals of MHC in song sparrows. I also just started a research associate position at the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. At BEACON, I will be researching chemical ecology, immunogenetics, behavior, and microbial symbionts in songbirds.


Please view my Curriculum Vitae for a more detailed description of my interests and experience.

Joel’s CV

Interests (in brief)

-evolutionary ecology


-sexual selection (e.g., mate choice, ornamentation)

-chemical ecology

-molecular ecology

-population genetics

-life history




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