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


BIOL 228 Animal Physiology

Selected Publications

* Indicates undergraduate author; ^Authors made equal contributions


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.  Find it here.


^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.

Featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Featured on Scientific American’s 60-second Science.

Featured on CBC and PRI’s As It Happens (interview starts around the 39-minute mark)


^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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