Seasonal Singing of Birds: From Gonads to the Brain
Speaker: Manfred Gahr, Ph.D., Director, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
Dr. Gahr joined the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, located near Munich, in 2004 to study how the brain regulates sexual behaviors and sex-specific brain functions. In the Northern Hemisphere, many birds cease singing in fall and restart singing in the next spring breeding season, since singing is crucial for the males’ reproductive success. Likewise, female birds chose “their” mates in part due to the male’s song quality and singing performance. Dr. Gahr’s presentation will focus on the neural circuits that are important for song production and mate choice. In particular, he will discuss which genetic and hormone-dependent mechanisms are involved in the developmental and seasonal plasticity of these neural circuits.