Here are some of my various research projects, both completed and ongoing. References and links to my published work can also be seen here.
Operant Thermoregulation in Snakes
This project was a collaboration between myself, Dr. Aaron Place, Dr. David Craig, and Dr. Charles Abramson. Aaron Place and I both have a long interest in reptile behavior and Aaron Place suggested we explore operant conditioning in rattlesnakes. His idea was not to use food or water as a reinforcer, but instead use access to a cool temperature in a hot apparatus as a reinforcer. This method relies on snakes' natural tendency to seek cool places when hot, or warm places when cold. Our rattlesnakes learned to press a lever to reduce temperature in a hot apparatus. You can see a video below. Although rattlesnakes are interesting subjects, especially due to their thermal perception. I would like to move to a species that is a little easier to work with. For more information see:
Place, A. J., Varnon, C. A., Craig, D. P. A., & Abramson, C. I. (2017). Exploratory investigations in operant thermoregulation in western diamond-backed rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox). In M. J. Dreslik, W. K. Hayes, S. J. Beaupre, & S. P. Mackessy (Eds.), The Biology of Rattlesnakes (pp. 213-227). Rodeo, NM: ECO Herpetological Publishing and Distribution.