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Nora Prior


Web page: Home page
Research area: Comparative Physiology, Ecology
Supervisor: K. Soma
History: 2009-Present PhD Candidate, Zoology, University of British Columbia. (Anticipated completion January 2014)
2005-2009 B.Sc., Integrative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

My PhD examines the neuroendocrine mechanisms of affiliative behaviors which are a part of pair maintenance behavior in the monogamous zebra finch.

Affiliative, pro-social behaviors are expressed in a wide range of contexts, including courtship, pair-bonding, parenting, reconciliation, coordination of group movements, and cooperation. Furthermore these behaviors include multiple modalities including physical, visual, and vocal contact. Although affiliative behaviors are expressed in various contexts, research examining the physiological regulation of these behaviors has essentially been restricted to parental behaviors and pair-bond formation (but not maintenance) in monogamous animals. Zebra finches are an excellent model to push the boundaries of how we understand affiliation and its physiological regulation. Not only are they highly social with a large repertoire of affiliative behaviors, but these behaviors occur across a range modalities, and in different environmental and physiological contexts. Examining the physiological regulation of pair-maintenance behaviors, across breeding cycle allows deepen our understanding of affiliation. Furthermore, as humans are a highly social, basic science research into the regulation of pair-bonding and affiliation is proving directly applicable to human health research.

Last updated 17 September 2015