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The Animal Behavior Podcast

The Animal Behavior Podcast

Author: The Animal Behavior Podcast

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Casual conversations between hosts (Matthew & Amy) and leading researchers in the field of animal behavior, merging science and stories. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
41 Episodes
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In this conversation, Matthew speaks with Dr. Ximena Bernal, professor of biological sciences at Purdue University. They discuss Ximena's research into spies in the túngara frog communication system. After the break, they talk about Ximena's journey as a native Spanish speaker working as a scientist in a field whose primary language is English and her efforts to increased communication between animal behavior scientists who speak different languages.This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes from ...
En esta conversación, Matthew habla con Dr. Ximena Bernal, profesora de biología en la Universidad Purdue. Hablan de la investigación de Ximena sobre espías en el sistema de comunicación de la rana túngara. Después del descanso, hablan sobre el viaje de Ximena como hablante nativa de español trabajando como científica en un campo cuyo idioma principal es el inglés y sus esfuerzos para aumentar la comunicación entre los científicos del comportamiento animal que hablan diferentes idiomas.Artícu...
In this week's episode, Maren Vitousek joins the show to talk about stress and her work in tree swallows. She starts by describing what stress is and what it is not. Matthew and Maren talk about the development of the stress response and its long-term implications. Then Maren's talk about the tree swallow project that she co-directs and what her lab has learned from studying stress in these animals.After the break, they talk about Maren's experience as a mother of three in academia. Maren des...
This week Matthew speaks with Jenny Tung, McArthur fellow and the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.They start out by discussing the mutual benefits that molecular biologists and behavioral ecologists can gain from bringing their methods and frameworks together. They discuss two examples of the power of that synergy from Jenny's work as a co-director of the Amboseli Baboon Research Project: (1) unraveling the hybridization history of the population and the beh...
In this episode, Matthew travels to South Africa to talk with legendary zoologist and behavioral ecologist, Tim Clutton-Brock. They discuss how Tim came to study meerkats and the logistical benefits of meerkats as a study system. Then they dig in to cooperative breeding and its implications for evolution. In the second half of the show, they discuss Tim's 50+ year career, how he has seen the field of animal behavior change, and where he thinks it should be headed.Two-Minute Takeaway: Marina W...
In this episode, Matthew speaks with Robert Seyfarth, professor emeritus in the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania. In the first half of the show, they discuss in detail some of the foundational playback experiments that Robert performed in partnership with his late wife Dorothy Cheney. These legendary experiments revealed fundamental discoveries about the kind of social knowledge monkeys have about the groups in which they live.In the second half of the show, they follow...
Matthew hosts a live episode of the podcast at the 2023 meeting of the Animal Behavior Society in Portland, Oregon.The show features friends of the pod Swanne Gordon and Jeff Podos, as well as special guests Steve Nowicki and Ted Stankowich.Content relevant to this episode:1. Buy books of poems written by Janie E. Bibbie, the poet from whom Swanne reads2. See Kim Rosvall's flaming hula hoop performance along with a list of others' circus tricks: http://www.nowickilab.org/tricklist.html
In this episode, Matthew speaks with Sara Lewis about her book, "Silent Sparks" and her career studying fireflies. They discuss the sexually selected behaviors that are so central to fireflies' lives. After the break, they talk about Sara's conservation work focused on documenting firefly population dynamics and threat levels that different species face. This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes from Cheyenne McKinley, a PhD student studying bioluminescent ostracods in Todd Oakl...
In this episode, Matthew speaks with Thore Bergman about Niko Tinbergen's 1963 paper "On Aims and Methods of Ethology." They discuss Tinbergen's four questions as well as additional context for each and Thore describes how he has applied Tinbergen's principles to his own work.After the break, they discuss a paper that Thore and Jacinta Beehner published last year, arguing that the connections between Tinbergen's questions have been misunderstood.This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes fro...
In the first episode of Season 3, we kick off our new miniseries, "Foundations of Animal Behavior" in a conversation between Matthew and Darwin scholar and intellectual historian Dr. William Kimler. We recommend that you read Chapter 7 either before or after this conversation. Here is the version (1st edition) that William and Matthew reference, starting on page 207 of the text (page 114 of the pdf): http://darwin-online.org.uk/converted/pdf/1859_Origin_F373.pdf William first describes the so...
Matthew talks with Kate Laskowski about a recently published update to her work on the development of individuality in genetically identical organisms.If you missed the original episode, be sure to go check up Season 2 Episode 8!Read the paper here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-34113-y
In this episode, Amy speaks with guest Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.They open by discussing the social function of individual odors and the potential factors driving the evolution of individual recognition systems in animals. Then, they chat about work by Zuleyma (and others) challenging Bateman's Principle, a widely accepted cornerstone of how we understand sexual selection. After the break, they discuss the importance of just...
In this episode, Amy speaks with guest Andy Sih, a Distinguished ​​Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis.They open by discussing the concept of animal personalities (a.k.a 'behavioral syndromes' or 'consistent individual differences in behavior'). Then, they chat about fear generalization in animals, and they discuss how and why human-induced rapid environmental change threatens some species mo...
In this episode, Matthew speaks with guest Kate Laskowski (@KateLaskowski), an Assistant Professor in the Department of Evolution, and Ecology at the University of California, DavisThey discuss what it means for animals to display individuality, how frequent individual repeatable differences are, and Kate's work in Amazon mollies that attempts to identify the sources and consequences of individual differences in a naturally clonal species. Then after the break they discuss data reproducibilit...
In this episode, Amy speaks with guest Gerry Carter (@gerrygcarter), an Assistant Professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University.They open by discussing cooperation and conflict in animal social structures. Then, they dig into variation in individual food-sharing relationships in bats, and they chat about whether or not vampire bats show reciprocal altruism (and how to go about testing this). After the break, they discuss challenges with...
In this episode, Amy speaks with guest Karen Warkentin, a Professor of Biology and a Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Boston University.They open by discussing the adaptive value of phenotypic plasticity, particularly at critical moments in complex life cycles. Then, they dig into the mechanisms underlying environmentally-cued hatching in red-eyed treefrogs (Agalychnis callidryas), and they talk about experimental approaches Karen has used to test hypotheses within thi...
In this episode, Amy speaks with guest Nora H. Prior (@NhPrior), a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University.They open by discussing the many types of social relationships that animals experience throughout their lives, and the impact that these diverse social interactions may have on the involved individuals. Then, they dig into the neuroscience underlying our understanding of different social behaviors and explore the value of linking neural mechanisms ...
In this episode, Matthew speaks with Jesse Goldberg (@jesseGlab), Associate Professor and Robert R. Capranica Fellow in the neurobiology and behavior department at Cornell University.They first cover Jesse's perspectives on some basics of neurobiology-- what he identifies as a brain's function and the brain's role in creating predictions and controlling movement. They then discuss the role of dopamine in an animal's learning and discoveries that Jesse's lab has made regarding the role o...
In this episode, Matthew speaks with Swanne Gordon (@Swanne Gordon), Assistant Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. They talk about diversity in both nature and in the biological sciences. The research focus of the conversation focuses on Swanne's experimental and modeling work to understand polymorphism among aposematic wood tiger moths, and the surprising outcomes that positive density dependent selection can have, when combined with migration between population...
In this episode, Matthew speaks with Tamra Mendelson (@tamram), Professor of Biological Sciences at UMBC.They talk about Tamra's work studying sexual signal evolution. They discuss the processing bias hypothesis, with a focus on the importance of the ease of processing a signal on the receivers preference for signals. They talk about evidence that efficient processing has shaped human preferences for art and faces, and consider the implications of the same phenomenon in animal signal evolutio...
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