Taylor Fossett

Biological Sciences

Taylor is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Kendra Sewall’s lab, and is interested in gene- environment interactions and developmental plasticity.

Taylor earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from UNC Asheville. After undergrad she became a wildlife rehabilitator at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue for two years and quickly fell in love with birds, the rest is history.

In pursuit of a career in research, she earned her Master’s degree in Biology from Western Carolina University. At WCU Taylor studied bird behavior, and recently published her Master’s work in the journal Behaviour: “The effects of habituation on boldness of urban and rural song sparrows (Melospiza melodia)”.

Fossett_IGC_Pic for website

Through her doctoral work in Dr. Sewall’s lab, Taylor hopes to address the fundamental gaps in our understanding of the function and plasticity of neuropeptide Y to examine the implications of early nutritional stress on urban song sparrow brain function and behavior. Taylor believes that the interdisciplinary research training provided by the IGC will allow her to ask questions that link environmental change to changes in animal physiology and behavior. Her hope is to one day inform policy through her research, by providing evidence that anthropogenic environmental change, such as urbanization and climate change, can ultimately cause shifts in animal behavior and likely influence the functioning of global ecosystems.

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