I study evolution and development of animal social cognition and behavior. I am particularly interested in the role of communication in mediating social behavior and the interplay of evolution and development in shaping animal communication systems. I’m also interested in the mechanisms of social behavior and life-history trade-offs.
Currently, I am an Assistant Professor at Koç University and an affiliate Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech. Immediately before that I was a Research Scientist at Virginia Tech collaborating with Adam Lendvai, Fran Bonier, Ignacio Moore, Mark Haussmann and Mark Stanback, following a postdoc at Cornell Lab of Ornithology (with Janis Dickinson). I got my PhD at University of Washington in Mike Beecher‘s Bird Lab with whom I still collaborate with on studying development and function of song.
My first name is pronounced as “Chalar” (more or less). If you run into me at a conference but I make a seemingly existentialist statement like “I’m not Caglar”, it is probably because you’re looking at my doppelgänger, Erol Akcay, also a biologist interested in social behavior. Nothing to worry.
(illustration by Zeynep Akcay)