Sydney joined the Hopkins lab in August 2014. Her general research interests include animal behavior and physiology and how they are affected by changes to the environment at all stages in life. She is studying wood ducks to investigate how clutch size affects incubation temperature parameters and how differences in incubation temperature affect duckling behaviors that are critical to early survival.
Sydney graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. During her undergraduate career, she studied the effects of springtime temperature and urban habitat on the molt dynamics of the Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) in natural and urban populations in New Jersey.
In Summer 2013, she participated in an REU with Indiana University. She conducted a project investigating how stress affects aggressive behavior in Oregon juncos (Junco hyemalis) in a natural population and a newly colonized population in Los Angeles, California.
Sydney is currently investigating how clutch size in wood ducks affects incubation temperature parameters and female incubation behavior. Wood ducks exhibit high levels of conspecific brood parasitism, wherein females lay eggs in other nests. Large clutch sizes may be more difficult for wood duck hens to incubate optimally, and any effects of clutch size on incubation temperature or female behavior may reveal a constraint on the evolution of larger clutch sizes and an overlooked cost of brood parasitism.