Sabrina Michael is a third-year PhD student in the Cocroft Lab. She is interested in collective animal behavior and the role that communication plays in collective decision making as well as how these communication systems have evolved in group-living organisms. Treehoppers, small plant-dwelling insects, are an excellent group to study the evolution of signals and receiver responses. She is also interested in the role that the reward system has on signaling and responding to signals in various ecological contexts. She has been studying Missouri treehoppers, and recently had the opportunity to observe tropical species of treehoppers in Bolivia! As treehoppers live and feed on plants, Sabrina is also interested in plant responses to insects. She has been a part of a project to understand electrical signaling in plants in response to damage caused by herbivorous insects.
Sabrina received her MS in Biology from Eastern New Mexico University, where she studied behavioral responses of fishes in response to changes to the environment. During this time, Sabrina also helped to develop an automated-object tracking software.
Sabrina loves learning as well as teaching and has taught various subjects and students of all ages over the years. In addition to teaching biology labs, she is also a NAUI scuba diving instructor. In addition to research and teaching, Sabrina also really enjoys serving as a mentor to students. Like many biologists, Sabrina also loves animals and in her spare time she hangs out with her best friend, Morty!