I am a vertebrate evolutionary and behavioral ecologist working currently researching how host immunogenetics influences the composition of symbiotic microbes that produce semiochemicals in dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis subspecies hyemalis, carolinensis, and oreganus).
My PhD research explored parasite-mediated selection on the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia), and how MHC may be signaled to potential mates, and how these birds use these cues to mate non-randomly at MHC. The most significant findings of my PhD research was discovering that preen oil may act as an olfactory (chemical) cue of MHC genotype (Slade et al. 2016, Proceedings B) and how song repertoire size signals MHC allelic diversity in these birds (Slade et al. 2017, Biology Letters).