Mathematical Biology Seminar

Franz Goller Biology Dept. University of Utah
Wednesday Oct. 31, 2007
3:05pm in LCB 215
Motor control of birdsong - peripheral answers to central questions

Abstract: Vocal behavior in songbirds is controlled by a well-characterized network of brain nuclei, but many questions about motor control remain unanswered. In order to understand central neural control we must learn about the target organs and their role in generating the behavior. Songbird vocal behavior is produced by coordinated activity of the respiratory system and the vocal organ, the syrinx, which houses two independently controlled sound generators. Using the example of how birds control sound frequency, I will illustrate that insight into the peripheral systems can contribute greatly to our understanding of central motor control.