About the PI (Gerry Carter)

Gerry, 2020

Interests— I love thinking and learning about the evolution and ecology of cooperation, communication, and cognition. How do new cooperative relationships develop? How important is reciprocity for stabilizing cooperation in nonhuman animals? What are the relative importance of different factors for shaping decisions to help others? I’m interested in animal behavior more generally and everything that relates to it.

My familiarity with the ecology and natural history of bats (1400+ species), especially vampire bats (3 species), helps me develop testable questions and hypotheses about them. How common are “social bonds” in bats? What do bats communicate to each other via social calls? How does natural selection shape bat cognition? I’m also interested in improving access to science and improving the incentive structures of academia. How can we better align the goals of human scientists with the goals of science? 

Besides my scientific interests, I enjoy rock climbing, caving, and most recently, going for walks in the park with my wife Michelle and toddler Jay (born in 2020). My wife works at the non-profit Franklinton Farms.

Service— I serve on the Board of Directors for the North American Society for Bat Research and for Bat Conservation International which works to conserve bat populations around the world. I support the organization 350.org, which advocates for the changes needed to combat the climate crisis, and World Wildlife Fund, which works to reduce the most pressing threats to the loss of biodiversity. I care about human rights and extreme poverty, so I support Oxfam and Eden Reforestation Projects, one of the most efficient and effective non-profits (they employ people living in poverty around the world to plant 15 million trees per month, with ten trees planted for every dollar). I also support Amnesty International fights for human rights around the world.

I’m interested in improving the incentive structures of science and academia. To this end, I support or participate in several organizations. Heterodox Academy aims to increase open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. Wikimedia Foundation creates free and open knowledge for everyone. PLOS is the public library of science. ASAPbio promotes transparency and innovation in life science communication. Peer Community In provides a new way of doing peer review. SORTEE is the Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Some pictures

In 2008, my wife and I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Here we are on Mt Whitney
We also enjoy traditional rock climbing. This is the final pitch of “Too Tough to Die” in Cochise Stronghold
Summit of Cochise Dome
Lake Tahoe
Indian Creek
Cirque of the Towers
Ancient Art, Fisher Towers
Gunks
Baby Jay born in Columbus Ohio, 2020
Toddler Jay at 18 months

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