About the presenter

Spring Week on Campus 2018
Dr Kristal Cain

Dr Kristal Cain


I grew-up chasing critters in the deep woods and creeks of East Texas. I earned a BSc in Wildlife Biology from Texas A&M and then worked as a wildlife biologist for a time before returning to academia. I completed my PhD at Indiana University. I then taught at University of Virginia’s Mountain Lake Biological Station for the summer, The Field Biology of Sex and Sex Differences. Afterwards, I moved to Australia to take up a series of postdoctoral positions with a slew of great people that allowed me to travel around Australia chasing interesting birds. In June 216 I started as a Lecturer in Ecology, Evolution & Behaviour at the University of Auckland.

My research focuses on how and why animals are so varied in  their behaviour and appearance. I am particularly interested in sex differences and females that are colourful, aggressive or sing complex songs. I use an integrative approach, incorporating tools from the behaviour, physiology, evolutionary ecology, and quantitative genetics. Most of my work focuses on birds. But it includes species from all over the world: dark-eyed juncos in the mountains of Virginia and South Dakota,  Gouldian and crimson finches in The Kimberley region of Australia, heaps of fairy-wren species all over Australia, and new projects in New Zealand on pukeko, titipounamu, and others.