Erica Morley

BSc. Biology, University of Bristol 2004
MSc. Ecology, Bangor University 2007
PhD, University of Bristol 2011


I work on acoustic communication and biomechanics in insects and spiders. Projects primarily focus on vibrational communication in web-dwelling spiders using techniques such as laser Doppler vibrometry. Spiders have an exquisite ability to detect vibration and are well known to use it for prey capture, mate recognition and choice, as well as the avoidance of potential predators. However, many aspects of vibrational communication and transmission in webs remain unknown. My work aims to better understand the complex nature of vibration in spider webs. I am also interested in auditory mechanics in crickets. Recent work has revealed that an Indian tree cricket ear is able to actively amplify quiet sounds and tune into conspecific song in an amplitude dependent manner. I am looking at the mechanics of the auditory system in North American tree crickets exploring whether these auditory nonlinearities are present in other species.

Terrence Chang

BSc. (Honours Biology), University of Western Ontario 2013
Undergraduate thesis: "Diversity of insect-eating bats as illustrated by bite force and size"


I am currently an MSc candidate conducting research on courtship communication in katydids. I am interested in the evolutionary pressures that influence persistence of multiple cues targeting various modalities in courtship signalling. Specifically, I'm interested in the interplay of natural selection and sexual selection on acoustic and vibrational signaling in katydids.

Sen Sivalinghem

Google Scholar
B.Sc.Honours Neuroscience and Psychology (2004 - 2009) - University of Toronto Scarborough
M.Sc. Biology (2009 - 2012; passed with distinction) - Carleton University
Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2012 - present) - University of Toronto Scarborough


I’m generally interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying animal communication and sensory processing. In particular, my Ph.D. research focuses on vibratory communication in web-building spiders. Using the cob-web spider, western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus), as a model organism, my research aims to examine: (1) how males generate vibrations on female webs; (2) the physical characteristics, and functional significance of courtship vibrations; (3) how vibrations propagate through elaborate web structures; and (4) how peripheral and central neurons encode and process vibratory information. To address these different questions, I conduct behavioural, and electrophysiological (both extra- and intra-cellular) experiments in the lab; and use various tools, including high-speed cinematography, laser vibrometry, and electron microscopy.


Sivalinghem S, Kasumovic MM, Mason AC, Andrade MCB, and Elias DO. (2010) Vibratory communication in the jumping spider Phidippus clarus: Polyandry, male courtship signals, and mating success. Behavioral Ecology. 21(6): 1308-1314.
Elias DO, Sivalinghem S, Mason AC, Andrade MCB, and Kasumovic MM. (2010) Vibratory communication in the jumping spider Phidippus clarus: Substrate-borne courtship signals are important for male mating success. Ethology. 116(10): 990-998.
Kasumovic MM, Elias DO, Sivalinghem S, Mason AC, and Andrade MCB. (2010) Examination of prior contest experience and the retention of winner and loser effects. Behavioral Ecology. 21(2): 404-409.

AJ Masson

BSc University of Vermont, US (2013) - Biological Sciences


Explore the mating and courtship behaviour of Parasitoid fly Ormia Ochracea, and the importance that cricket calls have on mating and activity levels. The specific goal of my research is to determine if fly mating behavior depends on the presence of cricket song.

Paula Tactay

B.Sc. Candidate at the University of Toronto, 4th year (Graduating 2014)
Double Major in Biology and Health Studies


BIOD98: Studying the phonotaxis and larviposition behaviour in the parasitoid fly, Ormia ochracea

Hillary Fong

B.Sc. Candidate at the University of Toronto, 3rd year (Graduating 2015)
Double Major in Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution and Psychology


The efficiency of grooming behaviour as a method of parasitoid (Ormia ochracea) removal in crickets (genus: Gryllus).

Syed Ahmad Nizami

B.Sc. Candidate at the University of Toronto, 3rd year (Graduating 2015)
Double Major in Psychology and Neuroscience


I work with MatLab to produce GUIs and related code to help conduct experiments while working with graduate students.

Megan Mcphee

BSc. (Honours Zoology), University of Guelph 2013
Undergraduate thesis: Determining spider (Araneae) diversity and phylogenetic community structure along a Neotropical elevation gradient


I am currently an MSc candidate who is primarily interested in sexual selection and intra-sexual signaling and displays. I plan to focus on the complex visual and vibratory signals of jumping spiders using the charismatic Phiddipus audax. My work is supported by an NSERC CGSM Scholarship and I am co-supervised by Maydianne Andrade

Principle Investigator

Andrew Mason

Postdoctoral Student

Erica Morley

Graduate Students

Terrence Chang Sen Sivalinghem AJ Masson Megan Mcphee

Work-Study Students

Paula Tactay Hillary Fong Syed Ahmad Nizami


Postdoctoral Researchers:
  • Dan Howard
  • Paul De Luca
  • Graduate Researchers:
  • Norman Lee
  • Matt Jackson
  • Dean Koucoulas
  • Undergraduate Assistants:
  • Deepak Dinakaran