Dr Sandra Winters


I am an evolutionary and behavioural ecologist broadly interested in the evolutionary drivers of animal appearances. In particular, my research focuses on how optimal animal phenotypes can evolve as a result of particular (or multiple) selection pressures. I am interested in both natural and sexual selection, and am especially keen to understand the evolutionary drivers of phenotypic diversity, which can result in animal appearances that range from wonderfully cryptic to stunningly conspicuous. My dissertation research focused on understanding how the diverse face patterns of guenons (forest monkeys in Africa) have evolved as mate recognition signals that function to promote reproductive isolation in mixed-species groups. Throughout the course of my PhD I was also involved in multiple projects assessing primate colouration and sexual selection. Currently, I am researching how best to conceal a 3D animal in different types of visual scenes, and how selection for crypsis in variable habitats can promote phenotypic diversity.


I graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Science in 2008 and from Central Washington University with a Master of Science in 2011. My PhD was supervised by James Higham in the Primate Reproductive Strategies lab at New York University, where I completed my dissertation entitled “Guenon face patterns and the maintenance of reproductive isolation” in 2019.

I am currently a Research Associate in the Camo Lab working on the BBSRC funded project “Concealing 3D objects”.


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