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K-State Today

February 21, 2019

Division of Biology Seminar Feb. 22: 'Mechanisms of Behavioral Innovation in Birds'

Submitted by Division of Biology

The Division of Biology will host guest speaker Chris Balakrishnan, associate professor at East Carolina University, as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in 221 Ackert Hall. Balakrishnan will present "Mechanisms of Behavioral Innovation in Birds."

Balakrishnan will speak about birds that have captured the interest of evolutionary biologists — since Darwin, of course. Yet, as a study system, birds can be challenging because they are not yet readily amenable to functional genetic manipulation, they have relatively long generation times, and many species are difficult to breed in the lab. Birds, however, offer a lot of power in their striking diversity and complexity of behavior. Drawing insights from ongoing genomic studies, this talk will highlight how this inter- and intraspecific diversity of interesting behavior, including variation in parental care and courtship displays, provides a unique opportunity for studying the evolution and mechanisms of behavior.

Balakrishnan also will present a KSCI Works noon-hour presentation on his science communication efforts on Friday, Feb. 22, in 342 Ackert Hall. As a graduate student, he founded Nerd Nite, which has spread across 100 cities across the globe.

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