Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior IUB Calendar

EEB Seminar Series - Scott MacDougall-Shackleton - "Control of Seasonal Phenotypic Plasticity in Songbirds"

Most organisms adjust their phenotype in response to predictable seasonal changes in their environment. Seasonally-breeding songbirds show a particularly high degree of such phenotypic plasticity, with intraspecific seasonal variation as great or greater than most interspecific variation. At the behavioural level, birds adjust social behaviour, reproduction and movement across seasons.  At the physiological level, they exhibit high degrees of plasticity in the brain, reproductive physiology, and other systems. A central theme of my research program addresses how birds transduce environmental cues to regulate seasonal changes in physiology, neurobiology and behaviour.  Seasonal changes depend on endogenous circannual and circadian timers that are synchronized and modulated by external environmental cues such as photoperiod, weather, food resources, or stressors. Species-level and individual-level variation in how the brain responds to photoperiod may underlay the evolution of diverse breeding schedules, from strictly seasonal to opportunistic.  In addition to photoperiod, cues such as food availability, temperature, and weather (storms) also affect the seasonal timing of reproduction and migration, and these effects often appear to be mediated by steroid hormones. 

Friday September 29, 2017 04:00 PM
Friday September 29, 2017 05:00 PM
Myers Hall Room 130
Biology Seminar Coordinator
Contact Email
Other Info
refereshments served prior to seminar
Sponsoring Unit(s)
Adam Fudickar
view calendar