Meeting Abstract

BERN-1  Tuesday, Jan. 5 19:00  Comparative Endocrinology of Social Monogamy ADKINS-REGAN, E; Cornell University

Socially monogamous mating systems marked by highly affiliative and selective female-male pair relationships have evolved multiple times in animals. Only in recent decades has the endocrinology of this behavior been uncovered, and until quite recently birds, the most socially monogamous group of vertebrates, were largely missing from experimental work. Advances are now occurring through research with zebra finches, which breed well in captivity, form permanent pairs and have biparental care of the young. Sex steroid actions are not required for pair formation in this species, but increases in dopamine-related processes are associated with pair formation. Evidence indicates that nonapeptides have both activational and organizational roles in pair-related affiliative behavior. An important direction for the future will be explicitly comparative studies within the avian clade framed by an evo-devo approach to social behavior and its underlying neuroendocrine mechanisms.

Professor Elizabeth Adkins-Regan is a Professor of Psychology and Department of Neurobiology at Cornell University. She is the President of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, was the Editor of Hormones and Behavior and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and is a Fellow in three societies, American Society for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, and the Animal Behavior Society. Dr. Adkins-Regan is internationally recognized for her ground-breaking research in the neuroendocrinology of social behavior. Her work is iconic in its comparative and evolutionary approach to exploring the hormonal and neural mechanisms of behavior. She did seminal research describing the hormonal organization and activation of sexually dimorphic reproductive behaviors in birds. Her work continues to be wide-ranging, encompassing effects of yolk steroids on offspring, hormonal effects on neural plasticity and morphology, and the endocrine and neural mechanisms involved in mate choice, sexual orientation, and socially monogamous pairing behavior. She has published over 150 scientific articles and book chapters and is the author of the book "Hormones and Animal Social Behavior".