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K-State Today

April 5, 2018

Division of Biology and ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture series seminar April 6

Submitted by Division of Biology and Tawny Ochs


Marilyn Ramenofsky, adjunct professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of California, Davis, will present "Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms of Migration: Synchronizing with the Environment" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar series and ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture series at 4 p.m. Friday, April 6, in 221 Ackert Hall. 

Migration is an ancient and widespread phenomenon commonly involving a seasonal response to predictable changes in the environment. With onset of spring, long-distance migratory birds rush to breed at higher latitudes and altitudes taking advantage of long days and an abundance of food. As day length declines in autumn, birds return to more benign climes avoiding harsh conditions while selecting locations with sufficient resources namely food to support survival.

The understanding of migration has expanded with new technologies revealing remarkable journeys but the proximate mechanisms birds use to synchronize movements with environmental conditions remain poorly understood. Why this is may be due to long-standing approach to migration research where the process was thought of in general terms — "migration time." Recent consideration of migration in the context of the annual cycle has provided new insights and directions for study. For example, spring and autumn migrations progress through three phases of preparation, execution and termination each with its own set of mechanisms directing onset and pace of the physiological and behavioral processes in synchrony with the predictable environmental cues.

As examples, the development and expression of spring and autumn migration for the white-crowned sparrow will be presented to more fully elaborate how environmental signals influence endocrine, metabolic and behavioral systems helping to a further an understanding of processes and special adaptations for migration.

If you would like to visit with Ramenofsky, please contact Alice Boyle at aboyle@k-state.edu

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