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Anne Leonard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Anne Leonard

Contact Information


  • Darwin Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2011-2012
  • PERT Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Arizona, 2008-2011
  • Ph.D. University of California, Davis, Animal Behavior, 2008
  • M.S. University of California, Davis, Animal Behavior, 2004
  • B.A. Brown University, Biology, 2001

Research Interests

Anne Leonard studies the evolutionary ecology of communication in plant-pollinator and sexual selection contexts. Many organisms produce signals that span multiple sensory modalities, despite the costs and risks of producing complex and conspicuous displays. What benefit does a multi-component signal provide senders and/or receivers? How are these complex signals learned and used by receivers?  Her research addresses these basic questions in sensory and cognitive ecology across a range of systems and scenarios, often guided by signal detection theory and neuroeconomic frameworks. Past projects have explored the role of multimodal signals in cricket mate choice, the interactive effects of floral stimuli on bumble bee learning, and decision-making by crab spiders while searching for mates. Ongoing research addresses the nutritional ecology of floral rewards, signal evolution in pollination mutualisms, and prey choice by jumping spiders under conditions of uncertainty.


  • Leonard, A.S., Dornhaus, A. and Papaj, D.R. 2012. Why are floral signals complex? An outline of functional hypotheses. In: Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships (S. Patiny, ed.), pp. 261-282. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kaczorowski, R.L., Leonard, A.S., Dornhaus, A. and Papaj, D.R. 2012. Floral signal complexity as a possible adaptation to environmental variability: a test using nectar-foraging bumble bees. Animal Behaviour. 83: 905-13.
  • Leonard, A.S. and Papaj, D.R. 2011. "X" marks the spot: The possible benefits of nectar guides to bees and plants. Functional Ecology. 25: 1-9.
  • Leonard, A.S., Dornhaus, A. and Papaj, D.R. 2011. Flowers help bees cope with uncertainty: signal detection and the function of complex floral signals. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214: 113-121.
  • Leonard, A.S., Dornhaus, A. and Papaj, D.R. 2011. Forget-me-not: complex floral signals, inter-signal interactions, and pollinator cognition. Current Zoology 57: 215-224.
  • Leonard A.S. and Hedrick, A.V. 2010. Long distance signals influence assessment of close range mating displays in the field cricket, Gryllus integer. Biological Journal of The Linnean Society 100: 856-865.
  • Leonard, A.S. and Hedrick, A.V. 2009. Male and female crickets use different decision rules in response to mating signals. Behavioral Ecology 20: 1175-1184.
  • Leonard, A.S. and Hedrick, A.V. 2009. Single versus multiple cues in mate discrimination by males and females. Animal Behaviour. 77:151-159.
  • Leonard, A.S. and Morse, D.H. 2006. Line-following preferences of male crab spiders, Misumena vatia. Animal Behaviour. 71: 717-724.

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