Melissa Hughes

Professor, Associate Chair

Address: RITA 217
Phone: 843.953.6557


Ph.D. - Duke University
B.S. - Bucknell University

Research Interests

Understanding the relationship between signal form and function lies at the heart of my research program. Signal function, in terms of the signal’s effect on survival and reproductive success, is likely to differ between the individual producing the signal and the individual receiving and responding to it; the relationship between signal form and function, then, must evolve under often conflicting selection pressures on signalers and receivers. These themes — the relationship between form and function in animal signals, and the conflicting interests of signaler and receiver — guide both my work on visual and chemical signals in snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis, marine decapod crustaceans), and my subsequent work on birds, including studies of song learning in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos), and my work on the function and evolution of song and plumage in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia).

Courses Taught

BIOL 112: Evolution, Form & Function of Organisms
BIOL 333
: Ornithology
BIOL 343
: Animal Behavior


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