Carrie Branch receives early investigator award from American Ornithological Society

April 18, 2023

Carrie Branch, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Carrie Branch, assistant professor in the department of Psychology has received a Ned K. Johnson Early Investigator Award from the American Ornithological Society (AOS).

From the AOS announcement:

Branch is interested in the evolution of communication and cognition in North American chickadees. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada Reno (2018),  Branch was awarded an Edward W. Rose Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and received an inaugural AOS Kessel Research Fellowship in 2020 to support her work on spatial cognition and female mate choice in mountain chickadees. She has since served on selection committees for both the Kessel and Rose fellowships. In collaboration with talented scientists, Branch has made several important contributions to the field of ornithology and animal behavior, garnering interest from national and international news media, including Science Magazine, Living Bird Magazine, and BBC One. Most recently, Branch and colleagues have shown that natural selection acts on the spatial cognitive abilities of food-caching birds—a long-hypothesized assumption that has historically been difficult to show in the wild. Branch is a productive scientist, having published 40 articles in top journals in her field, including Ornithology, Current Biology, Proceedings B, and Animal Behaviour. She is also committed to mentoring students and has involved numerous undergraduate students in her research program (24 total), many of whom have received research grants (five to date) and earned authorship on publications (five to date). She is committed to creating an inclusive classroom and fostering curiosity in the courses she teaches, including Animal Behaviour and Animal Communication. Since beginning her tenure at Western University in July 2022, she has received two research awards, including a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant and a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to establish the Laboratory for Integrative Studies of Avian Communication at Western’s Advanced Facility for Avian Research. Branch was elected as an AOS Elective Member in 2020. Branch will deliver a plenary address entitled “Sexual selection, female choice, and cognitive adaptation in a food-caching bird” at the AOS & SCO–SOC 2023 Conference in London, Ontario, in August.