Megan D. Gall

Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Neuroscience and Behavior

Broadly, I am interested in sensory ecology, physiology, and behavior in birds and frogs. I am particularly interested in (1) the role of sensory systems in animal communication, (2) sensory plasticity, and (3) the feedback loops between ecology, behavior and the design of animal sensory systems. I teach Introductory Biology, Animal Physiology, Sensory Ecology, Animal Communication, a seminar in Neuroscience and Behavior and a new intensive (Topic: Biology in Board Games). If you are a student who is interested in my research program, please check out our website for more information on our research and then e-mail me to find out more about opportunities in my lab.

BA, Pomona College; MS, California State University-Long Beach; PhD, Purdue University-Main Campus
At Vassar since 2013


Olmsted Hall of Biological Sc
Box 346

Research and Academic Interests

Sensory Ecology
Animal Communication
Auditory Processing

Departments and Programs

Selected Publications

(* Indicates undergraduate author; ^authors made equal contributions)


*Fossesca, M., Henry, K.S., *Chou, T.L., and Gall, M.D. 2023. The silent assumption of the masking hypothesis: avian auditory processing and implications for behavioral responses to noise. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

*Boycott, T.J., *Sherrard, M., Gall, M.D., Ronald, K.R. 2023. Deer management influences perception of avian plumage in temperate deciduous forests. Vision Research 213: 108312.  

*Chou, T., *Krishna, A., *Fosessca, M., *Desai, A. *Goldberg, *J., Jones, S. *Stephens, M., Basile, B., and Gall, M.D. 2023. Mixed support for the effects of masking and distraction on anti-predator behavior in suburban anthropogenic noise. PLoS ONE 18(8): e0290330.


*LaRocco, E.P., Proudfoot, G.A., and Gall, M.D. 2022. Effects of frequency on the directional auditory sensitivity of Northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus). Brain, Behavior and Evolution 97:129-139.


Gall, M.D., Baugh, A.T., Lucas, J.R., and Bee, M.A. 2021. Social communication across reproductive boundaries: hormones and the auditory periphery of songbirds and frogs. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 61: 292-301.

Baugh, A.T., Gall, M.D., Silver, S.C., and Bee, M.A. 2021. Moderately elevated glucocorticoids increase mate choosiness but do not affect sexual proceptivity or preferences in female gray treefrogs. Hormones and Behavior 130: 104950.  Find it here.


*de Koning, M., *Beatini, J.R., Proudfoot, G.A., and Gall, M.D. 2020. Hearing in 3D: directional auditory sensitivity of Northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus). Integrative and Comparative Biology 60: 1058-1067.


^Baugh, A.T., Bee, M.A., and ^Gall, M.D. "The paradox of hearing at the lek: auditory sensitivity increases after breeding in female gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis)"The Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 205:629–639. 

*Beatini J.R., Proudfoot, G.A., and Gall, M.D. 2019. "Effects of presentation rate and onset time on auditory brainstem responses in Northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus)." Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 145: 2062–2071

*Boycott, T.J., *Gao, J. and Gall, M.D. 2019. "Deer browsing alters sound propagation in temperate deciduous forests." PLoS One. 14(2): e0211569.

^Gall, M.D., Bee, M.A., and ^Baugh, A.T. 2018. "The difference a day makes: Breeding remodels hearing, hormones and behavior in female Cope’s gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis).Hormones and Behavior. 108:62–72.


*Beatini J.R., Proudfoot, G.A., and Gall, M.D. 2018. “Frequency sensitivity in Northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus).” The Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 204: 145-154.


Henry, K.S., Gall, M.D., Velez, A., and Lucas, J.R. “Avian auditory processing at four different scales: variation among species, seasons, sexes and individuals.” Psychological Mechanisms in Animal Communication. (M.A. Bee and C.T. Miller, Eds.). Springer-Verlag.

*Damsky, J. and Gall M.D. “Anthropogenic noise reduces approach of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice to Tufted Titmouse mobbing calls.” The Condor. 119: 26-33.


Gall M.D., Wilczynski W. “The effects of call-like masking diminish after nightly exposure to conspecific choruses in green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea).” Journal of Experimental Biology. 219: 1295:1302.


*Wong, A. and Gall, M.D. Frequency sensitivity in the auditory periphery of male and female black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus).” Zoology. 118: 357-363.

Gall M.D., Wilczynski W. “Hearing conspecific vocal signals alters peripheral auditory sensitivity.” Proceedings of the Royal Society. B 282: 20150749.

Velez, A., Gall, M.D., and Lucas, J.R. “Seasonal plasticity in auditory processing of the envelope and temporal fine structure of sounds in three songbirds.” Animal Behavior. 103: 53-63.

Velez, A., Gall, M.D., Fu, J. and Lucas, J.R. “Song structure, not high-frequency song content, determines high-frequency auditory sensitivity in nine species of New World sparrows (Passeriformes: Emberizidae).” Functional Ecology. 29: 487-497. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12352.


14. Gall, M.D., and Wilczynski, W. “Prior experience with conspecific signals enhances auditory midbrain responsiveness to conspecific vocalizations.” Journal of Experimental Biology. 217: 1977-1982.


Gall, M.D., Salameh, T.S. and Lucas, J.R. “Songbird frequency selectivity and temporal resolution vary with sex and season.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 20122296.

Gall, M.D., *Hough, L.,and Fernández-Juricic, E. 2013. “Age-related habitat preference and foraging behavior in the black phoebe (Sayornis nigricans).” Southwestern Naturalist. 58: 41-49.


Gall, M.D., *Bestrom, E., Ronald, K.L., and Lucas, J.R. “Effects of habitat and urbanization on the active space of brown-headed cowbird song.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 132: 4053-4062.

Gall, M.D., Brierley, L.B, and Lucas, J.R. “The sender-receiver matching hypothesis: support from the peripheral coding of acoustic features in songbirds.” Journal of Experimental Biology. 215: 3742-3751.

Gall, M.D., Henry, K.S., and Lucas, J.R. “Two measures of temporal resolution in brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater).” Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 198: 61-68.


Gall, M.D., Brierley, L.B., and Lucas, J.R. “Species and sex effects on auditory processing in brown-headed cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds.” Animal Behaviour. 81: 973-982.

Henry, K.S., Gall, M.D., Bidelman, G., and Lucas, J.R. “Songbirds trade off auditory frequency resolution and temporal resolution.” Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 197: 351-359.

Fernández-Juricic, E.J., Gall, M.D., Dolan, T., O’Rourke, C., *Thomas, S., and *Lynch, J.R. “Visual systems and vigilance behavior of two ground foraging avian prey species: white-crowned sparrows and California towhees.” Animal Behaviour. 81: 705-713.


Wang, Y., *Mijares, M., Gall, M.D., Turan T., Javier, A., Bornemann, D.J., Mange, K. and Warrior, R. “Drosophila variable nurse cells encodes Arrest defective 1 (Ard1), the catalytic subunit of the major N-terminal acetyltransferase complex.” Developmental Dynamics. 239: 2813-2827.

Gall, M.D. and Lucas, J.R. “Sex differences in auditory filters of brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater).” Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 196: 559-567.

Gall, M.D. and Fernández-Juricic, E. “Visual fields, eye movements, and scanning behavior of a sit-and-wait predator, the black phoebe (Sayornis nigricans).” Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 196: 15-22. .


Gall, M.D. and Fernández-Juricic, E. “Visual and physical prey availability alters perch selection and search effort in a sit-and-wait predator, the Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans).” Condor. 111: 150-158.


Fernández-Juricic, E.J., Gall, M.D., Dolan, T., Tisdale, V., and Martin, G.R. “The visual fields of two ground foragers, House Finches and House Sparrows, allow for simultaneous foraging and scanning.” Ibis. 150: 779-787.


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