‌Floria Mora-Kepfer Uy


200 & 204 Cox Science Center
E-mail: f.uy@miami.edu

Office: (305) 284-6220

Lab: (305) 284-8552


Lab website


  • 2014-present, Research Assistant Professor, Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
  • 2013, Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
  • 2004-2011, Ph.D. in Biology. Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
  • 2001-2005, M.Sc. in Biology. School of Biology, University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica
  • 1994-1998,  B.S. in Biology. School of Biology, University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica


  • Tropical Biology, Behavior & Behavioral Ecology, Neurobiology, Evolutionary Biology


My research is focused on understanding the evolution of cooperation and the selective pressures that favor the transition from solitary life to cooperative group living. To this end, I explore the evolution of cooperation and group formation in animals by studying and comparing insect colonies that vary in their extent of sociality. I am particularly interested in answering fundamental questions that provide critical bases to understand the relationship between brain development and sociality in animals. How do social animals process information from their physical and social environment to make decisions that enhance their survival and reproductive success? In animal societies where group members are constantly interacting, how do these interactions shape brain architecture and function? I use an integrative approach to investigate the relationship among genetic relatedness, social interactions, behavior cues, variability in environmental factors and brain architecture in group formation and cooperation.


I teach several classes ranging from introductory biology courses to my specialty in animal behavior, both in the traditional classroom experience and in full-immersion field courses. I aim to provide students with a unique opportunity to explore critical thinking and application of scientific knowledge by exploiting the science of every-day life. Applying biological concepts in hands-on-research by using examples of animal and human behavior in the current literature captures the attention and interest of students. To engage students of different backgrounds and demographics, I encourage students to actively participate in lectures and guided discussions, and to design experiments using the scientific method in laboratory sessions and field experiments.


2017-2018, "The neural underpinnings of social dominance and policing in insect societies", University of Miami Provost Research Award

2015-2016, “Tinkering or de novo evolution: The neural basis of collective defense behaviors” National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (co-PI, with Mark Hauber, Hunter College)


  • Uy, F.M.K. S. Ravichandran, K. Patel, J. Aresty, P.P. Aresty, R. Audett, K. Chen, L. Epple, S.F. Jeffries, G. Serein, P. Tullis-Joyce & J.A.C. Uy. 2017. Active background choice facilitates crypsis in a tropical crab. Biotropica 49: 365-371.
  • Mora-Kepfer F. 2014 Context-dependent acceptance of non-nestmates in a primitively eusocial insect. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 68: 363-371. (doi:10.1007/s00265-013-1650-2).
  • Mora-Kepfer, F. & A.M Espinoza. 2009. Parasitism and predation of Tagosodes orizicolus Muir (Homoptera: Delphacidae) by a dryinid parasitoid.International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation. 57(1): 203-211.
  • García–Robledo, C., P. Quintero-Marín. & F. Mora-Kepfer. 2005. Geographic Variation and Succession of Arthropod Communities in Inflorescences and Infructescences of Xanthosoma (Araceae). Biotropica. 650-656
  • Mora-Kepfer, F. 2003. The effect of manipulating the male face color in courtship success in Ceratitis capitata males (Diptera, Tephritidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 111(2–3): 159–164.