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Sisneros Lab Research:

In general, our lab is interested in the behavior and neural mechanisms involved in acoustic communication. We use fish as model systems to investigate the adaptive plasticity of the auditory system for social communication.

Our research program is composed of three foci that reflect our general interests in understanding the proximate mechanisms of social and reproductive-related behaviors, and how sensory systems contribute to their expression. The primary focus of the Sisneros lab is the investigation of seasonal reproductive-state and steroid-dependent plasticity of the adult auditory system in the plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus). A second focus is the examination of ontogenetic changes in the response properties and function of the fish auditory system, and a third focus is the investigation of sound source localization by fishes.

We use a combination of experimental approaches that include neurophysiology, neuroendocrinology and behavioral studies to determine how the vertebrate auditory system functions in natural ecological settings, how the brain processes species-specific communication signals, and the adaptive sensory mechanisms that are used by animals for the detection and localization of acoustic communication signals.

Plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus)

Photo by M. Marchaterre

Type I (nesting) male midshipman guarding his larvae in the nest.

Photo by M. Marchaterre

Collecting Midshipman on the
RV Kittiwake (Dec 2012) 
Photo by Bill Anderson

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