Image by David Clode

Gabriella Smith




MA in Animal Behavior and Conservation

Dissertation: "Presence and Degree of Contrafreeloading in Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus)."


BA in Biology with a Specialization in Behavioral Biology, Minor in Italian

graduation pic.jpeg


Smith, G.E., Greene, D., Hartsfield, L.A., & Pepperberg, I.M. (2021). Initial evidence for eliciting contrafreeloading in Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) via the opportunity for playful foraging. J. Comp. Psychol.
Smith, G.E., Chouinard, P.A., & Byosiere, S-E. (2021). If I fits I sits: A citizen science investigation into illusory contour susceptibility in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus). Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 240(105338). 

Smith, G.E. (2020). Presence and degree of contrafreeloading in African Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). [Master’s thesis, City University of New York]. CUNY Academic Works.

Maytin, A.K., Davies, S.W., Smith, G.E., Mullen, S.P., Buston, P.M. (2018). De novo transcriptome assembly of the clown anemonefish (Amphiprion percula): A new resource to study the evolution of fish color. Front. Mar. Sci., 5(284).
Gallant, J.R., Imhoff, V.E., Martin, A., Savage, W.K., Chamberlain, N.L., Pote, B.L., Peterson, C., Smith, G.E., Evans, B., Reed, R.D., Kronforst, M.R., Mullen, S.P. (2014). Ancient homology underlies adaptive mimetic diversity across butterflies. Nature Comm., 5(4817).

Image by Alexander Sinn
Image by Qijin Xu
Image by Pablo Heimplatz
Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri
Image by Luku Muffin
Image by shannon VanDenHeuvel
Image by Daniel Klein
Image by Nick Fewings



May 2020 - present

Thinking Dog Center, Hunter College (CUNY)

  • Conducted a Citizen Science project exploring illusory contour susceptibility in cats via their natural behavior to sit in enclosed spaces. Paper published in April 2021 (see above).

  • Managed research grant fundraiser to fund new experiments exploring dogs' susceptibility to motion illusions.

September 2017 - present

Pepperberg Lab of Avian Cognition, Harvard University

  • Master’s thesis in Dr. Irene Pepperberg's lab of avian cognition: "Presence and Degree of Contrafreeloading in Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus)." Paper submitted and under review (see above). 

  • Collaborating on species comparison of contrafreeloading in kea parrots (Nestor notabilis) and Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) with Dr. Alex Taylor and Amalia Bastos at the University of Auckland. Recently awarded Early Career Collaboration Enhancement Award from the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute to fund this collaborative research.

Oct 2020 - April 2021

Horowitz Lab of Dog Cognition, Barnard College (Columbia University)

  • Orchestrated five Citizen Science projects into dog behavior and cognition, one of which explores crossmodal sensory representations in dogs.

  • Supervised Barnard undergraduates on the mechanics of these projects from design, ethical approval, execution, analysis, and write-up.

Aug 2016 - Dec 2016

Tiputini Biodiversity Station and Galapagos Islands, Boston University

  • Investigated social recognition in Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki), group calls of woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppigii), and trail-following behavior in ants.

May 2016 - July 2016

Fiorito Lab of Octopus Cognition, La Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

  • Investigated Octopus vulgaris knowledge of numerosity and discriminatory learning.

  • Designed and executed research project under the supervision of Dr. Graziano Fiorito at La Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples, Italy with support of CephRes and Boston University’s Padua Research Scholarship.

June 2013 - Aug 2015

Buston Lab of Marine Evolutionary Ecology, Boston University

  • Explored genes responsible for the orange, white, and black epidermal phenotype in clownfish. Research presented at Boston University UROP Symposium (May 2015), and led to coauthored Frontiers in Marine Science paper on the clownfish genome (see below).

July 2011 - Dec 2015

Mullen Lab of Evolutionary Genomics, Boston University

  • Studied phenotypic speciation in butterflies. Research presented at Boston University UROP Symposium (May 2014) and led to a coauthored Nature Communications paper on Limenitis arthemis gene coding of phenotypic expression among butterfly subspecies (see below).

Grants & Awards

Early Career Collaboration Enhancement (ECCE) Award from the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (2020)

Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute Fellowship: Templeton World Charity Foundation (2019 & 2020)

ABC CO3 Travel Grant (2020)

ABC Thesis Research Grant (2019)

Padua Research Scholarship (2016)

Alcoa Chuck McLane Scholarship Award (2013)

Special Award from National Park Service (2013)

Special Award from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (2013)

Award of Recognition from NASA (2013)

Certificate of Achievement from the United States Air Force (2013)

Recognition of Achievement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013)

Certificate of Recognition from the United States Postal Service (2013)



Comparative Cognition Conference

April 2021

Smith, G.E., Chouinard, P.A., & Byosiere, S-E. If I fits I sits: A citizen science investigation into illusory contour susceptibility in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus).

January 2021

Smith, G.E., Chouinard, P.A., & Byosiere, S-E. If I fits I sits: A citizen science investigation into illusory contour susceptibility in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus).

November 2020

Smith, G.E., Greene, D., & Pepperberg, I.M. Presence and degree of contrafreeloading in Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus).

Boston University UROP Symposium

May 2015

Smith, G.E., Buston, P.M., & Mullen, S.P. The genomic basis of adaptive color pattern development in a charismatic coral anemone fish, Amphiprion percula.

Boston University UROP Symposium

May 2014

Smith, G.E., & Mullen, S.P. Connecting tropical and temperate butterfly species’ genetic diversity along latitudinal gradients.

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