Research in the Paul Bartell laboratory focuses on the regulation of biological clocks in birds at the systems level.

We use behavioral, molecular, and electrophysiological techniques to understand the neural and endocrine mechanisms by which these daily clocks and yearly calendars control the temporal organization of behaviors and life history stages. Current projects are broadly focused along two categories:

  • We (and others) have determined that biological clocks temporally organize pre-migratory and migratory behaviors. Currently, we seek to identify the changes in protein and gene expression that allows normally diurnal birds to become nocturnally active during migration, yet still function at a high performance level despite having very little sleep.
  • The influence of biological clocks in timing reproduction has been established, yet the proximal mechanisms by which they do so have remained elusive.

Our work attempts to identify the signals that the biological clock transmits, amplifies or gates in initiating reproductive development and in maintaining reproductive viability