Date - October 03, 2019
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy,, Philadelphia, PA 19103
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Bird Song – A framework to study the neurobiology of courtship behavior in songbirds

Bird Song - A framework to study the neurobiology of courtship behavior in songbirds
Speaker: Marc Schmidt

Professor Marc Schmidt will describe work in his laboratory that uses songbirds to study the neural bases of vocal production and sensorimotor integration. Courtship is complex and is influenced by many factors including social context, hormone levels, and environmental stimuli. The specific neural circuits that underlie the regulation of this suite of behaviors is poorly understood. My laboratory is investigating the role that a neural circuit known as the ‘song system”, which has exclusively been studied in the context of singing in males, plays in regulating courtship behavior in females.

Marc will discuss work in the laboratory, where he investigates the neural bases of copulatory control and selectivity in female brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater). He will also talk about preliminary work from the new outdoor “smart aviary”, where they use newly developed computer-vision approaches to non-invasively track moment-to-moment behavioral interactions, both vocal and non-vocal. This work aims to quantify courtship interactions in the group and identify patterns that become dysregulated following perturbations to the “song system” circuit.

Marc Schmidt is a Professor of Biology at University of Pennsylvania
Co-Director, Biological Basis of Behavior Program

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