I have a broad-based research program in the areas of animal behavior, ecology, population
genetics, and neuroethology. Specifically, I am interested in the evolution of cooperation,
sociality and dispersal strategies. My model organism is The northern social spider
Anelosimus studiosus. This is among the most dynamic social systems found in nature,
in that the spiders vary in their degree of sociality in response to latitude and
microhabitat. I am exploiting the variation in this system to develop a deeper understanding
of the selective forces involved with, and the mechanisms underneath, the evolution
of sociality. Our group takes a multifaceted approach to this work including: computer
modeling, field and laboratory experimentation, and using molecular markers to analyze
the genetic structure of populations. We are also now beginning to explore the effects
of various neurotransmitters on spider behavior. I am also interested in science education,
developing interactive inquiry-based simulations to illustrate ecological principles.
For additional information, please visit Dr. Jones' Laboratory Facebook page!