Alexander T Baugh

Alexander T Baugh
Swarthmore College · Department of Biology

B.S. (Biology), Ph.D. (Neuroscience)

About

52
Publications
6,693
Reads
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1,142
Citations
Introduction
Integrative animal behavior: causes and consequences of behavioral variation in frogs and birds
Additional affiliations
February 2019 - present
Swarthmore College
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2013 - present
Swarthmore College
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • I teach three courses in organismal biology: (1) BIOL 002: Introduction to Biology: Organismal and Population Biology (with lab); (2) BIOL 030: Animal Behavior (with lab); and (3) BIOL 131: Advanced Seminar in Animal Communication (with lab)
January 2013 - February 2019
Swarthmore College
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
August 2004 - May 2009
University of Texas at Austin
Field of study
  • Neuroscience
August 1997 - August 2002
University of Utah
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (52)
Article
In humans and some nonhuman vertebrates, a sound containing brief silent gaps can be rendered perceptually continuous by inserting noise into the gaps. This so-called "continuity illusion" arises from a phenomenon known as "auditory induction" and results in the perception of complete auditory objects despite fragmentary or incomplete acoustic info...
Article
Hormones are major physiological signals through which individuals flexibly adjust behavioral phenotypes to fluctuations in external and internal conditions. In vertebrates, glucocorticoid (GC) hormones contribute to such phenotypic flexibility, coordinating changes in metabolism, behavior, and the endocrine stress response. While the mechanisms of...
Article
Synopsis Most animals experience reproductive transitions in their lives; for example, reaching reproductive maturity or cycling in and out of breeding condition. Some reproductive transitions are abrupt, while others are more gradual. In most cases, changes in communication between the sexes follow the time course of these reproductive transitions...
Article
Glucocorticoids (GCs) are rarely studied in the context of female mate choice, despite the expression of receptors for these products in sexual, sensory and decision-making brain areas. Here we investigated the effects of GC concentrations on three aspects of female sexual behavior in breeding Cope's gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis): proceptivity...
Article
A R T I C L E I N F O Keywords: Creatinine GnRH hCG Non-invasive hormones Phonotaxis Testosterone A B S T R A C T Conventional methods for sampling hormones often preclude strong inference experimental designs, including repeated measures of both hormones and behavior and balanced or simultaneous designs for hormone-behavior sampling. In amphibians...
Article
We review work relating glucocorticoids (GCs), male sexual signals, and mate choice by females to understand the potential for GCs to modulate the expression of sexually selected traits and how sexual selection potentially feeds back on GC regulation. Our review reveals that the relationship between GC concentrations and the quality of male sexual...
Article
Full-text available
Both behavioral receptivity and neural sensitivity to acoustic mate attraction signals vary across the reproductive cycle, particularly in seasonally breeding animals. Across a variety of taxa receptivity to signals increases, as does peripheral auditory sensitivity, as females transition from a non-breeding to breeding condition. We recently docum...
Article
Sexual selection driven by mate choice has generated some of the most astounding diversity in nature, suggesting that population-level preferences should be strong and consistent over many generations. On the other hand, mating preferences are among the least repeatable components of an individual animal's phenotype, suggesting that consistency sho...
Article
In seasonal breeders, there are behavioral, endocrine, and neural adaptations that promote the sexual receptivity of females and tune their sensory systems to detect and discriminate among advertising males and to successfully copulate. What happens immediately after this key life history event is unclear, but this transitional moment offers a wind...
Article
Full-text available
Strong sexual selection by receivers can lead to the evolution of elaborate courtship behaviors in signalers. However, the process by which receivers sample signalers and execute mate choice under complex signaling conditions—and thus the realized strength of sexual selection—is poorly understood. Moreover, receivers can vary in condition, which ca...
Preprint
Minimally invasive methods for estimating hormone concentrations in wild vertebrates offer the opportunity to repeatedly measure behavior and hormone concentrations within individuals while minimizing exper-imenter interference during sample collection. We examined three steroid hormones (corticosterone, CORT; 17-β estradiol, E 2 ; progesterone, PR...
Article
Animal personality traits emerge developmentally from the interaction of genetic and early environmental factors. Maternal hormones, such as androgens (testosterone, T and androstenedione, A4), transferred to embryos and egg yolks may simultaneously organize multiple behavioural and physiological traits. Although previous studies demonstrated an as...
Article
Stress physiology is thought to contribute to individual differences in behaviour. In part this reflects the fact that canonical personality measures consist of responses to challenges, including novel objects and environments. Exposure to novelty is typically assumed to induce a moderate increase in glucocorticoids (CORT), although this has rarely...
Data
Repeated HPA assessments #1 (August 2012) and #2 (November 2012). Corticosterone concentrations were lower in August (main effect of season: F1,24 = 24.29, p < 5 × 10− 6) and there was a main effect of HPA component (F3,72 = 186.8, p = 1 × 10− 7). Lastly, there was an interaction effect between season and HPA component (F3,72 = 25.06, p < 1 × 10− 7...
Data
Adjusted repeatability estimates for the behavioral measures and the four HPA components. § Adjusted repeatabilities have SMI and fat score fitted as fixed effects (covariates) and individual as random effect for the R column and individual and nest of origin for the Nest ID column. †† Adjusted repeatabilities have SMI fitted as a fixed effect (cov...
Data
a. General linear models predicting the second HPA assessment CORT secretion using log10 transformed MR and GR expression (in the PVN and HP) and log10 transformed CORT concentrations, with SMI as a covariate and fat score as a cofactor. Significant models (p < 0.05) are shown in white squares and non-significant models in grey squares. Bold text i...
Data
Component loadings and variance explained for items in the principal components analyses. All data were log10 transformed and z-standardized prior to PCA analysis.
Data
Graphical representations of variance and covariance components for the four HPA components (BaseCORT, StressCORT, DexCORT, ActhCORT). All values are log10-transformed and plotted as standardized (z) scores and best fit lines are linear regressions. Plots a–d provide an illustration of the repeatability of each trait. Positive correlations graphica...
Data
Correlations between the natural stress response (StressCORT) and Initial Latencies (a) and negative feedback (DexCORT) and Startle Latencies (b) from HPA1 assessment and RTA1, respectively. Larger StressCORT values indicate a stronger stress response and larger DexCORT values indicate weaker negative feedback strength (i.e. higher CORT concentrati...
Data
a. HPA assessment validation. In March 2012 we collected 13 adult Parus major (7 females, 6 males) from a nestbox population near Radolfzell in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany (permit 35–9185.81/G-10/76 by District administration Freiburg Department of Agriculture, Rural areas, Veterinary and Food Administration, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany at the Max...
Data
Descriptive statistics for behavioral latencies. Light grey bars represent the Initial Latencies (neophobia response); medium grey bars represent the Reward Latencies; dark grey bars represent the Startle Latencies (risk-taking response). Values in parentheses indicate number of completed trials. There was a significant main effect of latency type...
Data
Graphical representations of variance and covariance components for the three behavioral traits (Initial Latency, Reward Latency, Startle Latency). All values are log10-transformed and plotted as standardized (z) scores and best fit lines are linear regressions. Plots a–c provide a partial (the first two of three repeated trials) illustration of th...
Article
Variation in the reactivity of the endocrine stress axis is thought to underlie aspects of persistent individual differences in behavior (i.e. animal personality). Previous studies, however, have focused largely on estimating baseline or peak levels of glucocorticoids (CORT), often in captive animals. In contrast, the temporal dynamics of the HPA a...
Article
Hormonal pleiotropy—the simultaneous influence of a single hormone on multiple traits—has been hypothesized as an important mechanism underlying personality, and circulating glucocorticoids are central to this idea. A major gap in our understanding is the neural basis for this link. Here we examine the stability and structure of behavioral, endocri...
Article
university of the Pacific, stockton, ca, usa; c Department of integrative Biology, the university of texas at austin, austin, tX, usa; d smithsonian tropical Research institute, Balboa ancon, Republic of Panamá ABSTRACT The evolution of elaborate signals can emerge from changes in anatomical signaling structures. In the male túngara frog, a simple...
Article
Full-text available
The neuropeptide arginine vasotocin (AVT) promotes sexual advertisement and influences vocalization structure in male anuran amphibians. In the present study, we used wild túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus) to investigate the effects of AVT on phonotaxis in males and females—thereby controlling for potential task differences between the sexes....
Article
The glucocorticoid stress response, regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, enables individuals to cope with stressors through transcriptional effects in cells expressing the appropriate receptors. The two receptors that bind glucocorticoids—the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR)—are present in a va...
Article
Full-text available
Most studies addressing the development of animal communication have focused on signal production rather than receiver decoding, and similar emphasis has been given to learning over nonlearning. But receivers are an integral part of a communication network, and nonlearned mechanisms appear to be more ubiquitous than learned ones in the communicatio...
Article
Animal 'personality' describes consistent individual differences in suites of behaviors, a phenomenon exhibited in diverse animal taxa and shown to be under natural and sexual selection. It has been suggested that variation in personality reflects underlying physiological variation; however there is limited empirical evidence to test this hypothesi...
Article
In many species males vocally advertise for mates in choruses and these choruses serve as acoustic beacons to conspecific females as well as to eavesdropping predators and parasites. Chorusing will often cease in response to disturbances, such as the presence of predators. In some cases the cessation is so rapid and over such a large area that it s...
Data
Summary of acoustic variables of the calls of each male
Data
Latencies and disqualified trials for each call pair
Article
In many species males vocally advertise for mates in choruses and these choruses serve as acoustic beacons to conspecific females as well as to eavesdropping predators and parasites. Chorusing will often cease in response to disturbances, such as the presence of predators. In some cases the cessation is so rapid and over such a large area that it s...
Article
In acoustically advertising anurans the male courtship call elicits species-typical responses from conspecifics –usually phonotactic approach and mate choice in gravid females and an evoked vocal response in adult males. Males in several species, however, are also known to perform phonotaxis, sometimes with the same acoustic preferences as females....
Article
It is well known that animal decision-making can be influenced by environmental variables, such as the risk of predation. During the breeding season, nocturnal amphibians encounter a range of environmental conditions at breeding aggregations, including variable ambient light conditions. For nocturnal frogs, illumination is expected to minimize cons...
Article
Facultative traits that have evolved under sexual selection, such as the acoustic ornaments present in the advertisement signals of male túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus), offer a unique opportunity to examine selection for trait exaggeration with a focus on individual differences amongst signalers. By contrast, many studies of mate choice use...
Article
We examined the emergence of a critical component of sex, response to sexual signals-phonotaxis-in male and female túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus). We determined the ontogenetic trajectories of phonotactic responses as animals developed from metamorphic froglets to reproductive adults. The results demonstrated that species-typical phonotaxis...
Article
Signalling is a dynamic process that often occurs over brief timescales, particularly in the acoustic modality. Numerous studies of mate choice and acoustic communication have identified signal parameters essential for species recognition and mate preferences, although these studies have rarely considered the dynamic nature of these processes. Here...
Article
It is well known that animal decision-making can be influenced by environmental variables, such as the risk of predation. During the breeding season, nocturnal amphibians encounter a range of environmental conditions at breeding aggregations, including variable ambient light conditions. For nocturnal frogs, illumination is expected to minimize cons...
Article
Mate choice studies most often examine female preferences based on population responses, thus potentially overlooking individual differences in behavior. Moreover, such studies typically use invariant stimulus conditions to infer preferences. By using population responses and static stimulus presentations, it is difficult to thoroughly understand t...
Article
We investigated the natural dynamics in a sexual signal that combines different call components and explored the role of call complexity in sexual selection using a neotropical frog. Male túngara frogs, Physalaemus pustulosus, facultatively add up to seven short, multi-harmonic components (chucks) to the simple form of their calls (whines). Female...
Thesis
Interest in the question of when and how species recognition and mate preferences emerge in animals with strong species-typical predispositions has faded since the time of the classical ethologists. In its place, the role of plasticity has surfaced as a central emphasis in the study of animal behavior. Here, I step back and examine the origin and e...
Article
La riqueza local de las especies en comunidades de la musaraña (Soricidae) con frecuencia es alta y los mecanismos de separación ecológica siguen siendo relativamente inexplorados. En este estudio, las muestras del pelo de 6 especies de Sorex en 3 comunidades separadas fueron analizadas para calcular las proporciones de los isótopos estables de car...
Article
Categorical perception is common in humans, but it is not known whether animals perceive continuous variation in their own multidimensional social signals categorically. There are two components to categorical perception: labeling and discrimination. In the first, continuously variable stimuli on each side of a category boundary are labeled. In the...
Article
Stable carbon isotope analyses have shown that South African australopiths did not have exclusively frugivorous diets, but also consumed significant quantities of C4 foods such as grasses, sedges, or animals that ate these foods. Yet, these studies have had significant limitations. For example, hominin sample sizes were relatively small, leading so...
Article
Modern theories of learned vocal behaviours, such as human speech and singing in songbirds, posit that acoustic communication signals are reproduced from memory, using auditory feedback. The nature of these memories, however, is unclear. Here we propose and test a model for how complex song structure can emerge from sparse sequence information acqu...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
How do fickle females make up their mind during mate choice and what causes variation in those important behavioral decisions?