Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour
Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour
The members of the Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour study brain function and behaviour, taking an integrated approach from neuroscience to ethology. Development of brain and behaviour is a focus as well as communication and higher cognition in animals. Members of the centre include academic staff – Professor Lesley Rogers, Professor Gisela Kaplan (Research Level E), Dr Peter Wilson, Ms Leanne Stewart (Research Assistant) and, currently, four postgraduate students, plus diploma and external students and technical assistance.
Research Focus (Staff only):
Prof. L.J. Rogers (Coordinator of the Centre) is currently focusing her research on the advantages of having a lateralized brain. Recent results of experiments comparing strongly and weakly lateralized chicks show that stronger lateralization enhances performance when more than one task has to be carried out simultaneously. These findings are being extended to primates (marmosets). In addition, the cognitive effects of aging on problem solving are being studied in marmosets, as well as the neuroanatomy research onageing marmoset brains. Hand preferences in marmosets and orangutans and lateralization in horses are also areas of her research.
Prof. G. Kaplan’s research field is animal behaviour, specifically: development/learning, communication, cognition and welfare, and these are investigated in primates (marmosets and orang-utans) and in avian species.
Current ongoing focus is on vocalizations and complex communication in the Australian magpie and ongoing research on behaviour of the common marmoset.
Dr P. Wilson carries out research on (a) the effect of neonatal cannabinoid exposure in the rat on excitatory synaptic efficacy in the hippocampus, which shows a long-lasting increase possibly related to a down-regulation of GABAergic inhibition, and is associated with decreased spatial learning ability, Sciences (b) the detailed circuitry of neurons and synapses in different cellular layers of the WWW entorhinal cortex and electron microscope immunocytochemical studies of the organization of cholinergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic synaptic terminals that arise from the medial septal region of the forebrain, with a view to understanding the function of EC in memory processing and spatial learning.
Grant Support (current only)
(a) ARC-discovery grant over 5 years awarded to Lesley Rogers to research “Brain lateralization: Its function, evolution, development and change with ageing” (2005-2009). This is a continuation of her ARC funded research of many years.
(b) ARC-discovery grant to Lesley Rogers and Gisela Kaplan (2004-2006) “Higher cognition and hemispheric specialization in an avian species: referential and intentional communication”,
Book Publications of Staff Members (last 6 years only)
- Kaplan, Gisela (2007) The Tawny Frogmouth. Under contract. CSIRO, Melbourne
- Kaplan, Gisela (2004) Australian Magpie: Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird. Natural History Series, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney & CSIRO, Melbourne, ISBN 0-643 09068 1, pbk. 142 pp.
- Rogers, Lesley J. and Kaplan, Gisela eds. (2004) Comparative Vertebrate Cognition: Are Primates Superior to Non-primates. Kluwer Primatology Series: Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospect. Kluwer Academic /Plenum Publishers, New York, Boston, Dordrecht, London, Moscow.ISBN 0-306-47727-0, Hbk, 386 pp.
- Kaplan, Gisela (2003) Famous Australian Birds. Allen & Unwin, Melbourne. (children’s book, 48 pp plus illustrations) ISBN 1 86508 835 8.
- Rogers, Lesley. J. and Kaplan, Gisela (2003) Spirit of the Wild Dog, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, ISBN 186508 673 8, pb, 229 pp
- Kaplan, G. and Rogers, L.J. (2003) Gene Worship. Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate over Genes, Brain and Gender, Other Press LLC, New York and London, ISBN: 1590510348, Hbk, 304 pp.
- Rogers, L and Andrew, R.J. eds (2002) Comperative Vertebrate Laterization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, ISBN 0 521 78161 2, 660 pp.
- Malashichev, Y.B. and Rogers, L.J. eds (2002) Behavioural and Morphogical Asymmetries in Amphibians and Reptiles, Special Issue of Laterality, Vol 7, ISBN 1 84109 932 2, 299 pp.
- Rogers, Lesley, Sexing the Brain, Korean edition, ISBN 957 2026 29 1, 166pp.
- Kaplan, Gisela and Rogers, Lesley J. (2001) Birds.Their Habits and Skills, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, ISBN 1 86508 376 3, 272 pp.
- Rogers, Lesley.J. and Kaplan, Gisela (2001) Non Soltanto Riti E Ruggiti. La comunicazione negli animali. Alberto Perdisa editore - Airplane S.r.l., Bologna, ISBN 88-8372-070-9.
- Kaplan, Gisela and Rogers, L.J. (2000) The orang-utans. their evolution, behavior, and future. Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, Mass., ISBN 0 7382 0290 8 (re-edited from 1999), 191 pp.
- Rogers, L.J. and Kaplan, Gisela (2000) Songs, Roars and Rituals. Communication in birds, mammals and other animals. Harvard University Press, Cambridge ISBN 0 674 00058 7, 207 pp.
For research papers and book chapters see individual entries
Additional activities of the Centre
Current International research links: CNAB staff conduct active collaborative research and publish together with leading scientists at a number of universities overseas, 6 different countries: University of Padua, University of Trieste, University of Sussex, Frankfurt University, Bochum University, RIKEN in Tokyo, Rennes University, Texas A & M University, University of Auckland. Recent academic visitors to the Centre include Prof. Dominique Homberger (LSU, Baton Rouge), Sir Patrick Bateson (Cambridge University), Prof. Wolfgang Wiltschko (Goethe Univers.). These are in addition to national research links and visitors.
Attracting competitive grants: Rogers and Kaplan have regular ARC funding and number amongst the most successful national competitive grant awardees at UNE. In addition to this, Rogers is also a member of a research team at Melbourne University, funded by NHMRC. Kaplan has also attracted a substantial donation for research in animal behaviour commencing in 2006.
Attracting Endeavour awardees: Dr.Elena Clara, from Padua University, visited for pre-doctoral research in 2004-2005 and Dr Vera Adamczak, funded by DEST, from the Free University of Berlin and the Charité, (visiting the Centre May-October 2006 on a collaborative research project with Kaplan).
Unique resource of the marmoset colony: Funded continuously by ARC-discovery grants to Rogers, and accommodated by rental arrangements with UNE, the colony is a unique resource in Australia and in the world – we have some of the longest living marmosets available for research on ageing and inspection of the colony by relevant research bodies and welfare agencies have earned it high praise for captive management.
Research by PhD Students (2004-2006 only)
Mat Pines has investigated the importance of housing conditions in the common marmoset (PhD awarded): 2005.
Pines, M., Kaplan, G., and Rogers, L. (2006) Housing preference in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): indoors versus outdoors. Journal of International Primatology, submitted.
Pines, M, Kaplan, G., Rogers.L.J. (2005) Use of horizontal and vertical climbing structures by captive common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): Activity levels and sex differences. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 91:311-319.
Pines, M, Kaplan, G. & Rogers, L.J. (2003) Behavioural changes and cortisol levels in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus jacchus) during and after transition to outdoor enclosures. Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Environmental Enrichment, Sydney, November 4th-9th, 2001, ed. M. Hawkins, pp 83 - 92.
Pines, M., Kaplan, G, and Rogers, L.J. (2006) Indoor versus outdoor housing: A case study on common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus, Proceedings of the XXthInternational Primatology Society Conference Entebbe, Uganda.
Pines M, Kaplan G and Rogers LJ (2004) Stressors of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) in the captive environment: Effects on behaviour and cortisol levels. XXth International Primatology Society Conference, Torino, Italy, 22-28 August.
Pines, M, Kaplan, G. and Rogers, L.J. (2002) Comparison of behaviour changes and cortisol levels of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus jacchus) to indoor and outdoor cages, Abstracts of the XIXth Congress of the International Primatological Society, 4-9 August 2002, Beijing, China, p. 267.
Helga Peters Hand Preferences in orangutans (PhD awarded 2005).
Koboroff, A and Kaplan, G. (2006). Is learning involved in predator recognition? A preliminary study of the Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen), Australian Field Ornithologist, vol.23 (1), 165-169.
Koboroff, A. and Kaplan, G. (2006). Predator inspection by birds. Proceedings of the 21st International Ornithology Congress, Hamburg, Germany, 16-19 August 2006. Book of Abstracts
Koboroff, A. and Kaplan, G. (2006). Ability to distinguish between predator type and species by Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen): a study of approach behaviour. Proceedings of the Australian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB) 2006
Koboroff, A & Kaplan, G (2004) Anti-predator responses to snakes by Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen), ASSAB Conference Adelaide by the Australian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, May 2004.
Nick Branson has conducted research on brain lateralization (paw preference) and noise phobia.
Branson, N.J. and Rogers, L.J. (2006) Realtionship between paw preference and noise phobia in Canis familiaris. Journal of Comparative Physiology 120, 176-183.
Michael (Hou-Chun) Chen has just commenced his PhD and conducts fieldwork in Thailand and Vietnam on the importance of song in paired and unpaired endangered gibbons (Nomascus ssp).
Nicole Austin (Graduate Diploma student) is conducting research on laterization in domestic and feral horses and relating it to temperament
|Co-ordinator:||Professor Lesley Rogers|
|Phone:||02 6773 3969/2733|
|Fax:||02 6773 3452|