Department Of Biology

Sara Tallarovic

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tallarovicSara Tallarovic completed her doctoral degree in Zoology at Oregon State University in 2000 with a project on reproductive and aggressive behavior in scorpions. She received a National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to study behavioral endocrinology of electric fish at the University of Texas at Austin in the laboratory of Dr. Harold Zakon. She taught at UT during the last semester of her postdoc, then spent a year at St. Edwards University in Austin as a visiting professor before coming to the University of the Incarnate Word. Here at UIW she teaches Diversity of Life, Unity of Life, Neurobiology, Behavioral Endocrinology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Vertebrate Zoology, and is developing a new course in Animal Behavior. She is an avid hockey fan, hiker, home brewer, gardener, musician, artist, and occasional actress in a historical theater company. She writes:

“My research interests center around reproductive and social behaviors, and the roles that hormones have in organizing and/or activating behaviors in weakly electric fish called brown ghost knifefish (Apteronotus leptorhynchus). These fish produce a quasi-sinusoidal electrical signal from a specialized organ in their tail that functions as an active navigation system as well as for communication. The electric organ discharge (EOD) signal can be easily detected by placing electrodes in the water with the fish, and connecting them to an oscilloscope or computer. The frequency of the EOD is directly controlled by a pacemaker nucleus in the brain (PMN), so by monitoring the EOD, we are essentially eavesdropping on neural activity in this species. Males and females not only have different baseline frequencies, but produce different modulations of the frequency for communication, and occasionally appear to jam the EODs of other fish during aggressive interactions. I am studying how steroid hormones affect aggression and communication signals in males and females. I would like to learn how and where these hormones act in the brain over time to produce sexually dimorphic behaviors.”




Tallarovic, S. K and H. H. Zakon. 2002 Communication signals in female brown ghost electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Journal of Comparative Physiology, A. 188:8:649-657

Tallarovic, S. K, J. M. Melville, and P. H. Brownell. 2000 Courtship and mating in the giant hairy desert scorpion, Hadrurus arizonensis Ewing (Scorpionida, Iuridae). Journal of Insect Behavior. 13:6:827-838

Melville, J M, S. K Tallarovic, and P. H. Brownell 2004 Evidence of mate trailing in the giant hairy desert scorpion, Hadrurus arizonensis. Journal of Insect Behavior. 16:1:97-115.

Zakon, H. H., J. Oestreich, S. K. Tallarovic and F. Triefenbach 2003 EOD modulations of brown ghost electric fish: JARs, chirps, rises and dips. Journal of Physiology (Paris) 96:5-6: 451-458

Tallarovic, S. K, and H. H. Zakon. Electric organ discharge frequency jamming during social interactions in brown ghost knifefish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Animal Behaviour, In press.