Dr. Gerhardt’s research involves both evolutionary and neurobiological approaches to acoustic communication in frogs and toads. The system is particularly suitable for quantitative and experimental studies: males produce complex but stereotyped acoustic signals, whereas females respond phonotactically to playbacks of both natural and synthetic (computer-generated) sounds.
By systematically varying the acoustic properties of synthetic sounds, he identifies the pertinent properties used in mate choice and can thus make predictions about the direction, if any, of change in acoustic signal structure through evolutionary time. Knowledge about the pertinent properties of communication sounds also serves as a framework for studying the underlying neural mechanisms. Specifically, this research guides searches for auditory neurons or networks that selectively respond to acoustic features of known biological significance in mate choice.
We are happy that Carl Gerhard will give us a talk within the DK lecture series at July 3rd 2012, at the Seminar room 3 at UZA I from 10:00 to 12:00. For more information please see the program.