Assistant Professor

ederrybe “at”

Postdoc    LSU (2007-2012)

  1. PhD         Duke University (2007)

BA           Princeton University (2000)


Derryberry 4_2014 CV.pdf


EBIO 2130: Introduction to Animal Behavior (Alternating Falls)

EBIO 4230/6230: Molecular Evolution and Ecology (Alternating Falls)

EBIO 2020: Theory and Methods in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Spring)

Dr. Elizabeth P. Derryberry

I graduated in 2000 from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at Princeton University, where I completed a senior thesis on the fitness consequences of parasites in natural populations of white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys). I went on to do my doctoral dissertation work on the patterns and mechanisms of song evolution in white-crowned sparrows in the Nowicki lab at Duke University. In 2007, I joined the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University to study lineage diversification in Neotropical ovenbirds and woodcreepers (Aves: Furnariidae). I joined the Tulane EEBIO faculty in 2012. Currently, I am working on several collaborative projects that address the proximate and ultimate factors controlling variation in communication signals using a range of techniques drawn from several disciplines. 

Graduate students

Sara Lipshutz

slipshut “at”

PhD    Tulane University (2012 -  )

BA     Swarthmore College (2011)

Honors and Awards

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Ernst Mayr Short-term Fellowship (STRI)

Leo M. Leva Biology Prize (Swarthmore)

Lande Research Fellowship (HHMI)

Margaret Hall Johnson Performing Arts  

    Scholarship (Swarthmore)

Robert C. Byrd Fellowship

Sara received her bachelor's degree in biology from Swarthmore College, where she worked with Julie Hagelin on the social role of an olfactory ornament in Crested Auklets and spent a semester at the University of Cape Town studying the demography of Kittlitz's Plover with Magda Remisiewicz. She then began work with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, focusing on the behavioral ecology of Northern and Wattled Jacana hybridization with Matthew Miller. Her primary research interests are in sexual selection and mating behavior, and the evolution of signals promoting speciation and hybridization.

Undergraduate students

Elizabeth Bramlett

Tulane Class of 2014

Now EEBIO 4+1

Amie Settlecowski

Class of 2015

Natasha Lowery

Class of 2016

Kim Micotto

Class of 2015 (winter)

Former Lab Members

Sabrina Hunter

lab manager 2012 - 2013

Kathleen Riley

Tulane Class of 2014

Catherine Rochefort

Tulane Class of 2014

POstdoctoral Fellows

Andrés Cuervo

acuervom “at”

PhD    Louisiana State University (2013)

Link to Cuervo website


Andrés is a biologist graduated from Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia), and from a masters in tropical biology at the University of Puerto Rico. He received his PhD from Louisiana State University, where he studied the evolutionary history multiple avian lineages to understand how present-day cloud forest avifaunas were assembled over time and space. Andrés is broadly interested in the causes of the high diversity of the tropics, the evolution of elevational zonation, as well as in speciation, systematics, and biogeography of Neotropical birds. In the Derryberry Lab, Andrés is working on a large collaborative project using genomic data to elucidate the history of diversification of the suboscines passerines.

Jenny Phillips

jphill1 “at”

PhD    Tulane University (2013 -  )

MS     Cal State Fresno (2012)

BS      UC San Diego (2008)

Honors and Awards

Belkin Undergraduate Research    


Division of Graduate Studies Graduate    

    Research Award

Liliane D. Wells Scholarship

College of Math and Science Faculty

    Sponsored Research Award

ASI R-Grant

Soarasis Scholarship

J. Eckles Scholarship

NAOC Student Travel Grant

Jenny received her Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at the University of California San Diego in 2008, where she worked in the Nieh lab on stingless bee communication in Panama. She then earned her Master’s degree in Biology at California State University Fresno, where she researched urban noise effects on song in a long distance migrant, Gambel’s white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). She is broadly interested in behavioral ecology, animal communication, sexual selection, and conservation. Her current research is focused on the effects of urbanization on song structure, salience, and fitness in Nuttall’s white-crowned sparrow (Z. l. nuttalli).

Liz is a part of our research project on diversification of Neotropical suboscines, and has been hard at work sequencing in the lab!  Liz gained more great experience in molecular techniques and analyses as part of an REU at the American Museum of Natural Science in Summer 2013. 

Amie is a part of our research project on diversification of Neotropical suboscines, and has been hard at work sequencing in the lab and writing scripts for analyses!  Amie gained more great experience in bioinformatics as part of an REU at the University of Kansas in Summer 2013, winning a poster competition on her research on the coalescent. Amie is a Newcomb Scholar and has been a Co-PI on CELT and Newcomb grants to fund her research in the lab. Amie is interested in mathematics and biology.

Natasha is part of our research project on song learning in white-crowned sparrows, and has been hard at work doing signal analyses in the lab!  Natasha will be joining Jenny Phillips in the field in the summer of 2014 to work on the impact of urban noise on song evolution in white-crowned sparrows.

Kathleen majored in Ecology/Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology. She conducted research on avian behavior and the effects of invasive plant species on bird song. Kathleen is going after her law degree and is excited to practice Environmental Law.

Catherine was part of our research project on understanding the impact of the urban habitat on song transmission in white-crowned sparrows.  Catherine spent the summer of 2013 in the field with Sara Lipshutz collecting data in San Francisco and Marin Counties.  Catherine is interested in clinical psychology and is currently in the Psychology Tulane 4+1 program.

Renata Durães Ribeiro

rduraes “at”

PhD    U of Missouri-St.Louis, 2008

MSc   Universidade Federal de Minas    

          Gerais, 2001

Link to Duraes website


Renata has a Master’s degree from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), where she worked with Miguel Ângelo Marini on the trophic ecology of Atlantic Forest birds. She then received her PhD from University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she worked with Bette Loiselle on sexual selection and lekking behavior of manakin birds from Eastern Ecuador. She is an Adjunct Professor at Tulane, where she has been teaching since 2011. In addition, she recently joined our lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow to develop research about how lead environmental contamination may affect the singing performance of Northern Mockingbirds in New Orleans.

Kim’s honor thesis is part of our research project on cognition in zebra finches and white-crowned sparrows. She plans on graduating with a degree in Neuroscience, and is specifically interested in learning and memory. She is planning on using her research experience to prepare for veterinary school.

General mischief maker