Sara Keen

Sara Keen


Name: Sara Keen
Position: Visiting DPhil Student


I am a PhD student in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, and a visiting student at the EGI. I graduated from the University of Florida with a BS and MS in electrical engineering in 2008, and completed a masters in Ecology, Evolution and Environment Biology at Columbia University in 2011. My masters research focused on vocal signaling and recognition in cooperative African starlings, and since graduating I have continued to integrate my interests in digital signal processing and behavioral ecology working in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bioacoustics Research Program.

Research Activities:

My research examines spatial and temporal variation in the songs of great tits in Wytham Woods. Beginning in 2017, I have collected song recordings from known individuals with the aim of identifying the social processes underlying patterns of song sharing within the population. Specifically, I am interested in identifying the processes by which new song variants appear in Wytham, such as random drift or the arrival of birds from nearby populations. By combining song analyses with breeding data collected from Wytham birds, I also hope to investigate the degree to which male-male competition and female mate choice shape song structure.

Selected Publications:

Keen, S. C., Shiu, Y., Wrege, P. H., & Rowland, E. D. 2017. Automated detection of low-frequency rumbles of forest elephants: A critical tool for their conservation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America1412715-2726

Keen S, Meliza C, Pilowsky J and Rubenstein DR. 2016. Song in a social and sexual context: vocalizations signal identity and rank in both sexes of a cooperative breeder. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 4:46.

Keen, S.C., J.C. Ross, E.T. Griffiths, M. Lanzone, A. Farnsworth. 2014. A comparison of similarity-based approaches in the classification of flight calls of four species of North American wood-warblers (Parulidae). Ecological Informatic. 21:25-33.

Keen, S.C., C.D. Meliza, D.R. Rubenstein. 2013. Flight calls signal group and individual identity but not kinship in a cooperatively breeding bird. Behavioral Ecology. 24:1279-85.