Dana Lynn Moseley

PhD Candidate


Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

221 Morrill Science Center

611 North Pleasant St

Amherst, MA 01003

356 Morrill II


    My research interests lie broadly in evolution and animal behavior. Specifically, I aim to understand how males indicate threat and how females develop their mating preferences.  To do this, I focus on the Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), a species in which females have been shown to prefer songs with high levels of vocal performance, i.e. with comparatively high trill rates and broad frequency bandwidths. Thus, sexual selection by females is hypothesized to push these vocal features to individual performance limits.

    In my research I use sound analysis software to manipulate trill rates of recorded songs beyond to high and low performance levels, in order to test questions about sexual selection and learning.  My research addresses the following questions, which are described in more depth here: Research

         1. Does vocal performance indicate the level of threat to receivers?

         2. What factors influence the development of female preferences -

                learning, mate-choice copying, a bias for high performance?

         3. How does developmental stress affect adult male vocal performance?

         4. Does male feather color correlate with vocal performance and early experience?