‌Adrienne DuBois, Ph.D.


161B Cox Science Center

(305) 284-2458
E-mail: aldubois@bio.miami.edu


  • 2015-present, Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Miami
  • 2012-2015, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Miami
  • 2011, Ph.D.  Department of Biology, University of Miami
  • 2006, B.S.  Department of Biology, Furman University


  • Behavioral Ecology, Evolutionary Biology


I am broadly interested in the fields of behavioral ecology and evolution. My research addresses how communication signals evolve using songbirds as a study system. In particular, I am interested in agonistic interactions and how information can be honestly conveyed when the interests of signalers and receivers are directly opposed (such as when two male songbirds are in competition for a territory). In agonistic interactions, selection may act on signalers to exaggerate their signals, by, for instance, bluffing aggressive intent or attempting to convey a larger size to an opponent. Such exaggeration, however, diminishes the honesty of the signals, and selection should then favor receivers who cease to respond to such dishonest signals—causing a breakdown of the signaling system. How then can signaling systems persist? How can honesty be maintained in a signaling interaction when the interactants might be rewarded in the short-term for being dishonest? How do such communication systems evolve over time? My research interests lie in addressing these fundamental questions in animal communication.


As a teacher, I am motivated by a lifelong love of learning and a strong desire to impart biological knowledge to others.  My teaching interests range from introductory biology courses to upper level courses in topics related to animal behavior and evolution.  In the classroom, I strive to engage my students’ curiosity and excite them about biology and to make learning opportunities and materials as accessible as possible.  My courses focus in particular on the scientific process—how hypotheses are developed and tested using empirical methods.  I encourage students to think critically about assumptions and the interpretation of data, which is a relevant skill both in the science classroom and as a member of society. 


  • DuBois AL, S Nowicki, and W Searcy.  2015.  A test for repertoire matching in Eastern song sparrows. Journal of Avian Biology 47:146-152.
  • Searcy, WA, DuBois, AL, Rivera-Caceres, K, and Nowicki, S.  (2013). A test of a hierarchical signaling model in song sparrows.  Animal Behaviour, 86:309-315
  • Anderson, RC, DuBois, AL, Piech, DK, Searcy, WA, and Nowicki, S.  2013.  Male response to an aggressive visual signal, the wing-wave display, in swamp sparrows.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67:593-600.
  • DuBois, AL, Nowicki, S, and Searcy, WA.  2011.  Discrimination of vocal performance by male swamp sparrows.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65:717-726.
  • DuBois, AL, Nowicki, S, and Searcy, WA.  2009.  Swamp sparrows, Melospiza georgiana, modulate vocal performance in an aggressive context. Biology Letters, 5:163-5.