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Teen Science Cafe | Decoding the Structure of Birdsong

April 21, 2023 @ 5:30 pm 7:00 pm

Teen Science Cafe is for you! This program is just for young adults, ages 13-18, and it’s free!

Birdsong is a unique form of animal communication, as it faces evolutionary pressures from mate selection and social learning, and it possesses a vast amount of diversity. There is still much left to understand about how this variation arises and its relevance in interactions between individuals of the same species.

This talk will examine an element of birdsong that has remained relatively enigmatic to researchers: syntax, or the sequence of notes within a song. By exposing wild male songbirds to songs with familiar and scrambled syntax, we can continue to decipher how information is conveyed in animal communication systems. 

About The Speaker:

Emma Reinhardt is a graduate student in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She joined Dr. Keith Sockman’s lab after graduating with a BS in biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2020. Emma has worked with a variety of organisms, ranging from yeast to lizards to crabs, before landing on songbirds. She is interested in understanding which elements of birdsong are most relevant in reproductive interactions. In pursuit of this, Emma spends her summers in the mountains of southwest Colorado to collect data on a population of Lincoln’s sparrows, a small, brown bird with a wildly complex song.


5:30 pm – Arrive and check in. We will gather inside the west, main entrance of Morehead.

5:30 pm – 6:00 pm: Pizza social. Pizza social will take place in our classrooms, located on the 2nd floor.

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Discussion & activities. Presentations will take place at the Science LIVE! Stage.

*Please Note: Depending on scheduled activities, the program may end between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center Science Stage

250 E Franklin St
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 United States
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