Jeffrey R. Lucas

Jeffrey R.  Lucas Profile Picture

Professor-Department of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., University of Florida, 1983

Contact Info:

Training Group(s):
Integrative Neuroscience

PULSe Contributor - not currently hosting students for laboratory rotations or recruiting students in the laboratory

Current Research Interests:

My lab hopes to understand the degree to which complex signals convey "information" among birds. Studies of bird communication, in turn, provide an excellent model for understanding our own language. We have focused most of our work on Carolina chickadees: birds that have one of the most complex vocal systems of any species outside of humans. Indeed, chickadees are one of the few animals known to use syntax in their vocal signals. We have been studying signal complexity in chickadees and the related tufted titmice in the context of the complexity of their social networks. Expanding this work to include an analysis of the hearing capacity of chickadees and other bird species, we were the first lab to show that subcortical processing of sounds varies across seasons. This finding suggests that the neurophysiology of the auditory system changes over the course of the year. Subsequent work has shown fine scale tuning relative to the properties of speciesspecific song. Finally, we are expanding the work on hearing in songbirds to include eagles, with an eye to finding stimuli that can be broadcast from wind turbines with the hopes of reducing mortality rates associated with turbine-bird collisions.

Selected Publications:

Krams, I., T. Krama, T.M. Freeberg, C. Kullberg, & J.R. Lucas. 2012. Social complexity and vocal complexity: a Parid perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:1879-1891

Velez, A, MD Gall, J Fu, JR Lucas. 2015. Song structure, not high-frequency song content, determines high-frequency auditory sensitivity in nine species of New World sparrows (Passeriformes: Emberizidae). Functional Ecology 29: 487-497

Henry KS, MD Gall, A Vélez, JR Lucas. 2016. Avian auditory processing at four different scales: variation among species, seasons, sexes and individuals. In M.A. Bee & C.T. Miller (eds): Psychological Mechanisms in Animal Communication. Springer. Pp 17-55

Ronald, KL, R Zeng, R Stewart, D White, E Fernandez-Juricic, JR Lucas. 2017. What makes a multimodal signal attractive? A preference function approach. Behavioral Ecology 28:677-687

Ronald KL, E Fernandez-Juricic, JR Lucas. 2018. Mate choice in the eye and ear of the beholder? Female multimodal sensory configuration influences her preferences. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 20180713

Lucas, JR, K Gentry, KE Sieving, TM Freeberg. 2018. Communication as a fundamental part of Machiavellian Intelligence. Journal of Comparative Psychology (in press)

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