Seminar: Madhu Katti, Friday at 12:10 in 1150 Hart Hall

This week’s Animal Behavior Graduate Group seminar

Of fast junk food, urban jive, and homelessness: the behavioral ecology of city life

Madhusudan Katti

California State University, Fresno

Friday, February 21, 12:10 in 1150 Hart Hall

Coffee and cookies will be available

If you’re interested in meeting with Madhu, contact Allison Injaian (asinjaian)


I am an ecologist with broad training and interests in evolutionary ecology, animal behavior, behavioral endocrinology, conservation biology, and human sociopolitical ecology. In my lab we use quantitative empirical approaches to test evolutionary ecological theory in animal populations at various scales of space, time, and biological organization. We are particularly interested in applying our knowledge of how wildlife populations and communities evolve and function in natural ecosystems towards understanding similar processes in human-dominated and constructed ecosystems such as cities. Our research encompasses a broad agenda bringing the power of quantitative evolutionary ecological approaches to bear on understanding the dynamic interactions between human activities and other organisms. A comprehensive approach to studying animal communities in human-dominated ecosystems integrates a focus on responses of individuals and species with comparative studies across species and regions. We combine approaches from multiple perspectives and scales, employing field research techniques learned from a range of disciplines. We use observational and experimental approaches in the field and laboratory, as well as quantitative modeling. What follows is a list of projects currently or recently active in my research group, with a brief outline of some of the questions being addressed:

Urban Bioacoustics:

1. How does the urban acoustic space affect animal communication? Examining the effects of urban acoustic variables (traffic noise, diurnal variation) on the temporal pattern and structure of the songs of breeding resident (House Finch), and wintering migrant (White-Crowned Sparrow) urban birds.

Foraging in urban habitats:

1. Investigating how variation in habitat within cities, especially due to human socioeconomic and cultural differences, affects avian foraging behavior and the perception of habitat quality by birds. Testing the “credit card hypothesis” in urban areas by assessing birds’ perceptions of food availability and predation risk in cities.

Urban Ecological Theory:

1. Building a theoretical framework for urban evolutionary ecology and extending it to other human-dominated landscapes.

Global comparisons of urban bird communities:

1. Citizen science for urban bird monitoring; comparative database of urban bird community data.

Restoration Ecology:

1. Vertebrate responses to riparian restoration in California; conceptual modeling of restoration trajectories on ecological and evolutionary time-scales.

Reproductive flexibility in birds:

1. Investigating the ecological and physiological determinants of timing of reproduction in irruptive migrants, desert dwellers, urban opportunists, and aseasonal tropical birds

Stress response in birds:

1. Studying the behavioral and physiological response of birds to natural / human-induced stressors.

Social construction and use of urban nature:

1. What determines biodiversity in residential backyards and urban parks? How do human construction of urban landscapes, and management decisions affect the diversity of birds and other vertebrates occupying urban habitats?

Ecodevelopment in tropical developing countries:

1. Assessing the effectiveness of integrative conservation-development projects from ecological, social and institutional perspectives.


J. S. Walker, Balling, R. C. Jr., Briggs, J. M., Katti, M., Warren, P. S., Wentz, E. A. 2008.Birds of a feather: interpolating distribution patterns of urban birds. Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems 32:19-28.doi:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2007.02.001

J. M. Anderies, Katti, M., and E. Shochat. 2007. Living in the city: Resource availability, predation, and bird population dynamics in urban areas. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 247:36-49.

MacDougall-Shackleton, S. A., M. Katti, & T. P. Hahn. 2006. Tests of absolute photorefractoriness in four species of cardueline finch that differ in reproductive schedule. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:3786-3794.

Warren, P. S., M. Katti, M. Ermann, and A. Brazel. 2006. Urban Bioacoustics—It’s not just noise. Animal Behaviour 71:491-502.

Kinzig, A. P., Warren, P. S., Martin, C., Hope, D., & M. Katti. 2005. The Effects of Human Socioeconomic Status and Cultural Characteristics on Urban Patterns of Biodiversity. Ecology and Society 10 (1): 23.

Hahn, T.P. M. E. Pereyra, M. Katti, G. M. Ward, and S. A. MacDougall-Shackleton. 2005. Effects of food availability on the reproductive system. In: Functional Avian Endocrinology (A. Dawson and P. Sharp, Eds.), Narosa Publishing House. ISBN: 81-7319-568-4.

Hope, D., Gries, D., Warren, P., Katti, M., Stuart, G., Oleson, J., and Kaye, J. 2005.How do humans restructure the biodiversity of the Sonoran desert? In: Connecting Mountain Islands and Desert Seas: Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago II, 2004 May 11-15, Tucson, AZ. USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-26: 189-194 (Fort Collins, CO).

Shochat, E., S. Lerman, M. Katti, and D. Lewis. 2004. Linking optimal foraging behavior to bird community structure in an urban-desert landscape: field experiments with artificial food patches. American Naturalist 164:232-243.

Katti, M. and P. S. Warren. 2004. Tits, Noise, and Urban Bioacoustics. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19(3): 109-110.

Katti, M. and T. Price. 2003. Latitudinal trends in body size among over-wintering leaf warblers, genus Phylloscopus. Ecography 26: 69-79.

Katti, M., S. A. Macdougall-Shackleton, and T. P. Hahn. 2002. Breeding response to long days under unpredictable food supplies: an experiment with House Finches.Hormones and Behavior 41(4): 474

Pereyra, M. E., S. A. MacDougall-Shackleton, S. M. Sharbaugh, M. L. Morton, M. Katti, and T. P. Hahn. 2001. Relationships between photorefractoriness and reproductive flexibility in cardueline finches. American Zoologist 41:1552.

Katti, M. 2001. Vocal communication and territoriality during the non-breeding season in a migrant warbler. Current Science 80(3): 419-423.

Katti, M. and T. Price. 1999. Annual variation in fat storage by a migrant warbler wintering in the Indian tropics. Journal of Animal Ecology 68: 815-823.

Katti, M. and T. Price. 1996. Effects of climate on Palaearctic warblers over-wintering in India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 93(3): 411-427. Reprinted, pp. 198-216 in Petronia: Fifty Years of Post-Independence Ornithology in India: A Centenary Dedication to Dr. Salim Ali, 1896-1996 (Hardcover), J. C. Daniel & G W. Ugra (Editors), 2003, Oxford University Press.

Katti, M. 1995. Conflicts or coexistence? Current Science 69: 305-6

Sharma D., N. Manjrekar, S. Mukherjee, M. V. Katti, P. Singh and G. S. Rawat. 1995. The takin (Bovidae, Caprinae) in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Mammalia 59: 444-446.

Pandey, S., J. Joshua, N.D. Rai, D. Mohan, G.S. Rawat, K. Sankar, M. Katti, D.V.S. Khati, & A.J.T. Johnsingh. 1995. Birds of Rajaji National Park, India. Forktail 10:105-114.

Katti, M., P. Singh, N. Manjrekar, D. Sharma, and S. Mukherjee. 1992. An ornithological survey in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, India. Forktail 7: 75-89.

Katti, M. 1992. Are Anolis lizards evolving? Nature 355: 505-506

Katti, M. 1991. Census operations for birds. Pp. 59-60 in Techniques for Wildlife Census in India, A Field Manual. W. A. Rodgers (ed.). Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Commentary and review articles

Katti, M. 2002. Old avian ecology in a new ecosystem. Ecology 83(9): 2643-2644. Review of Avian Ecology In An Urbanizing World, edited by J. Marzluff, R. Bowman, and R. Donnelly, 2001.

Katti, M. 1996. Are Warblers less important than Tigers? In “In Danger”, Paolo Manfredi (ed.). Ranthambore Foundation, Delhi, India.

Katti, M. and K. Kar-Gupta. 1994. Trouble in Paradise. Indian Express, 5 Jan. 1994.

Katti, M. 1992. Nightmares from a dreamland. Hornbill (magazine of Bombay Natural History Society) December 1992.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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