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Matthew Halley

Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: ANSP - Department of Ornithology

Research Interests:

Ethology, systematics, social evolution, history of science


"I am an ethologist interested in the proximate and ultimate causes of bird behavior, especially thrushes (Aves: Turdidae). I tend to be fascinated by secretive species that inhabit dense thickets, that seem to be always just beyond our observation, and for which even the sexes are sometimes impossible to distinguish in the field. To expose the secret lives of these birds, I use modern technology_ÑÓvideo and audio recorders, genetic analysis, tracking units, radio telemetry, etc._ÑÓto test hypotheses about the proximate and ultimate causes of bird behavior, and to reconstruct the evolutionary histories of living bird species. My dissertation project at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is focused on systematics and evolution of the genus Catharus. My interests are interdisciplinary and draw from the fields of biology, physics, Earth history, music theory, and history of science. In the latter field, I am softly focused on the American Enlightenment period (c.1700-1830), searching for and exposing unknown primary sources that shed new light on the past.

I am also the Editor of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC) and its journal Cassinia. I currently hold a BA degree in Sociology (2004, Pennsylvania State University) and a MS degree in Natural Resources (2014, Delaware State University), and have conducted field research in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Israel, Indonesia, India, Canada, and the United States."