Maria Goller

Ph.D. Student Profile Image
Ph.D. Student Biological Sciences maria.goller@huskers.unl.edu Advisor: Shizuka Manter Hall 402

Research Interests

I am fascinated by the behavior and ecology of every organism (e.g. plant, protist, fungi, fish, insect, alien, …). Some aspects I find particularly interesting are individuality, personality, learning, and flexibility. I am a second-generation avid birdwatcher, so it is natural for me to study birds. For my doctoral work, I am studying the evolution of vocal cultures in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris. The starling is a remarkable bird that is highly intelligent, social, and sings an incredible song. This species is a skilled mimic, meaning it will add the songs of other birds, calls of other animals, and environmental noises (car alarm, dripping water, etc…) to its song. I am teaching local starling populations new sounds to see how these sounds spread throughout Lincoln. This will give insight into social learning and the importance of social networks in song transmission. I am combining the local project with starling song research across North America to learn about the relationship between cultural evolution and genetic divergence. 

Specialization:
  • Ecology, Evolution & Behavior (EEB)
Advisor:
  • Dr. Daizaburo Shizuka