Artist: Hargun Khanna, Biology
Acrylic, faux plants and flowers, repurposed umbrella
Partner: Amy Strauss, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
My research explores vocal communication in songbirds, and I’m specifically trying to understand the environmental and social factors that influence birdsong evolution. To get at these ideas, I perform field experiments in local conservation areas to ask questions about song function in territorial adult birds, and I perform lab experiments on campus to ask questions about song learning in young, developing birds. I use acoustic analysis techniques to analyze variation in song structure across different social and environmental contexts. I am also exploring the neural mechanisms underlying song perception and song learning, to try to understand how neurobiological activity translates into the behaviors we see at the organismal level. Together, these varied approaches help me work towards a deeper understanding of the many selection pressures that shape bird behavior and songbird vocal communication systems.