Mariana Rodriguez-Santiago

Mariana Rodriguez-Santiago

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department: Biology
Start Year: 2023
Starting Institution: Colorado State University
Current Institution: Colorado State University
Project Title: Neural basis of acoustic mating decisions in a female treefrog

Acoustic communication is an important way through which individuals obtain relevant information for making context-appropriate decisions. Frog species, like Cope’s grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis, have evolved to communicate vocally in noisy communities that often contain multiple species living in sympatry. For H. chrysoscelis, correctly identifying conspecific male signals has fitness consequences, and females exploit the temporal patterns of signals to assess and localize potential mates. The midbrain region, torus semicircularis (TS, homologous to the mammalian inferior colliculus) consists of interval-counting neurons that are selective for distinct temporal features of male calls and ultimately are important for species recognition. To understandthe neuromodulatory mechanisms that underlie time-dependent social decision making within a mate choice context, this project will (1) characterize how local signaling of reproductive hormones impacts long-term temporal integration of male acoustic signals in the TS and (2) examine how arginine vasotocin expression alters such temporal integration in single-unit recordings. Ultimately, this project will provide insights into potential fundamental properties of how an organism’s internal state modulates neuronal activity important for reproductive behavior and social decision making.