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Project Chickadee

Assistant Professor of Biology Megan Gall

In the Gall lab we work on a variety of questions related to Animal Communication.  At the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve we are studying auditory processing and communication in the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atriacapillus). We use potter traps to capture individuals and apply a unique combination of color bands that allow us to identify individuals in the field. With this banded population we can determine how different individuals produce vocalizations (using field recordings), the relative dominance of the individual to other individuals (using videos and field observations), and how individuals respond to different vocalizations (using playback studies). We also bring individuals into the lab where we can test their hearing, before releasing them the next day at the site where we captured them. These data will ultimately allow us to understand the relationships among hearing abilities, vocal behavior and social behavior.