Alexander G. Ophir

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Much attention has focused on distinguishing between social and genetic monogamy in avian taxa. However, surprisingly few studies have directly investigated this distinction among mammals. We investigated the genetic mating system of the prairie vole,Microtus ochrogaster, a popular model for mammalian monogamy and human attachment. We used space use(More)
The neuropeptide vasopressin and its receptor V1aR are broadly implicated in social behavior and play a central role in several key aspects of male mating tactics in voles. In the prairie vole, a microsatellite in the cis-regulatory region of the gene encoding V1aR (avpr1a) provides a potential genetic basis for individual variation in neural phenotype and(More)
FOXP2, the first gene causally linked to a human language disorder, is implicated in song acquisition, production, and perception in oscine songbirds, the evolution of speech and language in hominids, and the evolution of echolocation in bats. Despite the evident relevance of Foxp2 to vertebrate acoustic communication, a comprehensive description of neural(More)
Limbic-associated cortical areas, such as the medial prefrontal and retrosplenial cortex (mPFC and RS, respectively), are involved in the processing of emotion, motivation, and various aspects of working memory and have been implicated in mating behavior. To determine whether the independent evolution of mating systems is associated with a convergence in(More)
Neuropeptides coordinate complex social behaviors important to both basic and applied science. Understanding such phenomena requires supplementing the powerful tools of behavioral neuroscience with less conventional model species and more rigorous evolutionary analyses. We review studies that use comparative methods to examine the roles of vasopressin and(More)
Animals produce a tremendous diversity of sounds for communication to perform life's basic functions, from courtship and parental care to defence and foraging. Explaining this diversity in sound production is important for understanding the ecology, evolution and behaviour of species. Here, we present a theory of acoustic communication that shows that much(More)
The energetic cost of acoustic signalling varies tremendously among species. Understanding factors responsible for this heterogeneity is important for understanding the costs and benefits of signalling. Here, we present a general model, based on well-established principles of bioenergetics, which predicts the energetic cost of call production across(More)
Although prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are socially monogamous, males vary in both sexual and spatial fidelity. Most males form pairbonds, cohabit with one female, and defend territories. Wandering males, in contrast, have expansive home ranges that overlap many males and females. In the laboratory, pairing is regulated by arginine vasopressin and(More)
The neuropeptides arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) are key modulators of vertebrate sociality. Although some general behavioral functions of AVP and OT are broadly conserved, the detailed consequences of peptide release seem to be regulated by species-specific patterns of receptor distribution. We used autoradiography to characterize central(More)
Despite its well-described role in female affiliation, the influence of oxytocin on male pairbonding is largely unknown. However, recent human studies indicate that this nonapeptide has a potent influence on male behaviors commonly associated with monogamy. Here we investigated the distribution of oxytocin receptors (OTR) throughout the forebrain of the(More)