View from Monument LekScrub Jay, photo by Alan Krakauer

The Patricelli Lab University of California, Davis


Karakauer et al. on the cover of J. Exp. Biology: Beginning in late winter, male sage-grouse gather on display grounds (leks) to perform their bizarre courtship displays. Females may choose their mates based on acoustic components of these displays, although little is known about how the sounds are produced. Using a multi-channel array of microphones, A. H. Krakauer, M. Tyrrell, K. Lehmann, N. Losin, F. Goller and G. L. Patricelli (pp. 3719-3727) document a 'two-voiced' system in which males produce two simultaneous and non-harmonically related tones. This previously undescribed acoustic complexity was matched by unexpected vocal tract morphology, indicating that the model of the chicken may not be appropriate for understanding sound production in all game birds. Photo by A. H. Krakauer.

Overview of Research

Members of the Patricelli lab study animal communication and sexual selection, with a focus on understanding the amazing diversity and complexity in animal signals.

Current projects in the Patricelli Lab:

1) The causes and functional implications of directional sound radiation in songbirds

2) Sexual selection and acoustic communication in sage-grouse

3) The effects of noise from energy development on acoustic communication and breeding behaviors of sage-grouse

In addition, graduate students in the lab are working on independent projects addressing animal communication.


POSTDOCS: In February 2009,we posted a postdoc job listing for acoustic modelling of noise impacts in sage-grouse. The position is now FILLED, so we are no longer considering applications.

GRAD STUDENTS: There are opportunites for graduate students to develop projects in any of the three research areas listed above, or to develop other projects related to animal communication and/or sexual selection. For admission into grad school at UC Davis, students must apply to graduate groups rather than to departments. Graduate students can apply to join the Patricelli lab through the Animal Behavior, the Population Biology or the Ecology (with an emphasis in conservation ecology) graduate groups. If you would like to discuss joining the lab, please send Gail an e-mail.

UNDERGRADUATES: We have many undergraduates working in the lab, and are usually looking to recruit more. Most students begin by working on the analysis of sage-grouse behaviors from video, but we are also happy to have students pursuing independent research projects. Please contact Gail if you are interested in working in the lab.



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contact Gail | last updated 3-29-10