The PI will combine field and laboratory experiments on a flexibly breeding photoperiodic songbird that times its seasonal breeding activities largely based on non-photoperiodic environmental factors, in particular rain-associated cues, to illuminate the neuroendocrine bases of reproductive resilience. He will take advantage of recent molecular advances, in particular the cloning of the gene that encodes the stimulatory neuropeptide gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH-I), and of recent research on the inhibitory neuropeptide gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone (GnIH), to unravel the role of these peptides and their interactions in the control of seasonality. He will conduct mechanistic experiments to determine how the brain expression of GnRH-I and GnIH is influenced by day length and a non-photic factor, precipitation, in the study species. The research will involve comparative studies on the hormonal and neuroendocrine systems of two geographically separate populations of birds. Birds from both populations are photoperiodic but hypothesized to be differentially influenced by non-photic environmental factors. The findings will be relevant to our understanding of the resilience of neuroendocrine systems in vertebrates in general. They will enhance our comprehension of the effects of some environmental perturbations, such as those potentially associated with global warming, on the reproductive physiology of birds living in extreme habitats where favorable conditions for breeding are seasonally time-limited and temporally and spatially unpredictable.
|Effective start/end date||8/15/10 → 1/31/15|
- NSF: Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO): $240,000.00