Christopher Sturdy

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Encoding the global geometric shape of an enclosed environment is a principal means of orientation in human and non-human animals. Animals spontaneously encode the geometry of an enclosure even when featural information is available. Although features can be used, they typically do not overshadow geometry. However, all previously tested organisms have been(More)
Birdsong, like speech, involves coordinated vocal and respiratory activity achieved under telencephalic control. The avian vocal organ, or syrinx, is innervated by motor neurons (MNs) in the tracheosyringeal part of the hypoglossal nucleus (XIIts) that receive their synaptic input from medullary respiratory areas and telencephalic song control areas.(More)
Individual variation in exploratory behaviour has been demonstrated in a diverse array of animal species. Understanding the evolutionary antecedents and ecological consequences of this variation is an active research area within animal behaviour. Here we investigate whether different exploration styles exhibited by black-capped chickadees (Poecile(More)
Here we examined immediate early gene (ZENK) induction to vocalizations in the ascending auditory pathway of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) to assess the impact that the sex of the producer and perceiver has on ZENK induction. We manipulated the playback by both the vocal type (song/call) and sex of producer (male/female), and then presented(More)
Cognitive processes are important to animals because they not only influence how animals acquire, store and recall information, but also may underpin behaviours such as deciding where to look for food, build a nest, or with whom to mate. Several recent studies have begun to examine the potential interaction between variation in cognition and variation in(More)
Changes in vocal behaviour observed in temperate songbirds have been linked to changes in photoperiod. Research has focused on the fluctuation of hormones that lead to photosensitivity, photostimulation and photorefractoriness, as well as the 'dawn chorus' observed in numerous species. However, photoperiod in the natural environment is a complex event that(More)
The 'chick-a-dee' call, common to all members of the genus Poecile, is used by both sexes throughout the year to putatively co-ordinate flock movements and register alarm. In some regions, two or more chickadee species occupy overlapping territories, and therefore it is essential that these sympatric species learn to discriminate between the acoustically(More)
Charles Darwin posited that secondary sexual characteristics result from competition to attract mates. In male songbirds, specialized vocalizations represent secondary sexual characteristics of particular importance because females prefer songs at specific frequencies, amplitudes, and duration. For birds living in human-dominated landscapes, historic(More)
More humans reside in urban areas than at any other time in history. Protected urban green spaces and transportation greenbelts support many species, but diversity in these areas is generally lower than in undeveloped landscapes. Habitat degradation and fragmentation contribute to lowered diversity and urban homogenization, but less is known about the role(More)
Species recognition is essential for efficient communication between conspecifics. For this to occur, species information must be unambiguously encoded in the repertoire of each species' vocalizations. Until now, the study of species recognition in songbirds has been focused mainly on male songs and male territorial behaviour. Species recognition of other(More)