My major research interests are animal behaviour and neurophysiology, namely understanding the social role of vocal communication signals and how sounds are produced and detected by the vertebrate nervous system. I am interested in the physiological mechanisms underlying auditory sensitivity and how changes in the environment (eg. increasing noise pollution) can impact hearing, behavior and possible physiological adaptations.
Presently, my research lines focus on social behavior, vocal communication and auditory sensitivity in fish. I have been using the highly vocal Lusitanian toadfish (Halobatrachus didactylus, Batrachoididae) and, more recently, the zebrafish Danio rerio, as my major study organisms.
Ongoing research projects cover the following topics: (1) ontogenetic development of multimodal communication; (2) developmental of auditory-vocal systems; (3) hormonal control of auditory sensitivity; and (4) effects of noise on early development and noise pollution.
A parallel project, in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong (Global Night Sky Brightness Monitoring Network), focuses on light pollution in Macau.
Flora investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Age-Related of Hearing Loss.
Rafael is looking at the effects of environmentally significant noise levels on early development and stress responses in zebrafish.
Vivian’s work focuses on effects of noise exposure and aging on hearing sensitivity (temporary threshold shifts) and how different gene expression profiles in the saccule may relate to sensory loss.
Lukas Breitzler, MSc student (USJ, Macau)
Ciara Valdoria, BSc student/research assistant (USJ, Macau)
Patricia Chaves, MSc student (ISPA, Lisbon)
Mei Ka Lam, MSc student (USJ, Macau)
Yolanda assists in various studies with a focus on morphological changes in the sensory receptors and underlying molecular mechanisms.