Ignacio Escalante Meza
Ignacio Escalante Meza is joining the Department of Biological Sciences as a Bridge to Faculty Scholar this fall. Before coming to UIC, Dr. Escalante Meza was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Ignacio obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California Berkeley, as well as a master’s and a B.S. in Biology from the Universidad de Costa Rica.
Ignacio is a tropical biologist that studies the mechanisms of animal behavior. By integrating tools in biomechanics, communication, and physiology he explores animal behavior through the lenses of ecology and evolutionary biology. These tools include field and lab observations and experiments, high-speed video recordings, laser vibrometry, chemical analyses, and statistical modeling. He studies arachnids (harvestmen/daddy long-legs) and insects (treehoppers) in the context of changing environmental and evolutionary pressures. This research takes place in the tropical forests of Costa Rica, and the urban setting of Chicago and surrounding areas. At UIC, Dr. Escalante Meza’s research program will focus on three topics: (1) decision-making in navigation, defense, and reproduction; (2) the evolution of communication mechanisms; and (3) how biomechanical and physiological mechanisms shape outstanding behaviors in arachnids and insects.