Robert Niese


I am gay and I am a PhD Candidate studying pigeon wings.//

Did you know that pigeons communicate using strange feathers in their wings to produce sounds in flight? My research focuses on the physical and evolutionary mechanisms that promote these unique feather morphologies and behaviors, and how those mechanisms might have contributed to the evolution of acoustic communication across all taxa. My studies of these non-vocal acoustic signals, or sonations, takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining fluid dynamics, behavioral ecology, functional morphology, and comparative phylogenetics to learn how and why these intriguing feathers evolve. I am also a passionate STEM educator, committed to hands-on, inquiry-based learning in classrooms at all levels of instruction. As an educator, I strive to utilize natural history museum collections to connect students to the natural world in meaningful and engaging ways. I identify as a gay man and I regularly strive to utilize my position as a mentor and educator to promote and normalize the visibility of queer people in science!

Twitter @RobertNiese, Instagram @RobertNiese