Molecular and Physiological Control of Behavior

One of my main interests in biology is in the control of behavior from genes to the environment and everything in between. While many behaviors are too complex to study at these levels, the control of the timing of behavior has proven more tractable. In particular, the circadian control of behavior is arguably the best understood of any behavior – the genes and the specific cells in the brain that control this behavior is known in a few model systems - notably fruit flies and mice. However, there are still many open questions in this field and even more in other fields of biological rhythms – especially circatidal rhythms.

In my lab, we have worked with several species of birds and mammals, and we currently work on two species of marine invertebrates, horseshoe crabs and lobster. In these studies we have investigated the role of neural and hormonal factors as well as the interaction of the circadian clock with various behavioral and physiological outputs. Locomotor activity is often used because it is a convenient output from the clock and it is easy to measure. Click the above tabs to learn more about our research with these animals.