Making sound decisions: Singing mice as integrative models for adaptive display
Presented by: Dr. Steve Phelps from the University of Texas
October 8th 12:30-1:30pm ET
By their very nature, animal displays are among the most conspicuous of all behaviors. They are designed to be noticed, but not without cost. The trade-offs between costs and benefits of conspicuous displays are influenced by state variables, like an individual’s reproductive status or energy balance; contextual variables, like the presence or absence of a given audience; and idiosyncratic contingencies that are unique to the ecological circumstances of an individual and must be learned through experience. While such trade-offs have been well explored theoretically, we know surprisingly little about the mechanisms by which animals match display effort to such diverse concerns. Work with singing mice illustrates some of the many neural and hormonal mechanisms by which these considerations are balanced against one another to optimize display effort.