Research in my laboratory focuses upon the neurobiology and behavior of vocal communication in passerine (= “song”) birds. As a group, songbirds exhibit a remarkably diverse set of behaviors for the learning, production, perception, and behavioral use of vocal communication signals. They share with humans the distinction of being one of the very few vertebrate groups to learn their adult vocalizations via auditory experience early in life.
Projects in this area of research include purely behavioral studies (both field and lab), as well as histological, neurophysiological, and computational approaches.
Songbirds also provide a powerful model for studying the neural bases for vertebrate vocal learning and communication in general. My research employs physiological, behavioral, and anatomical methods to examine the relationship between the design and function of the song neural system and the vocal behaviors that it subserves.
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