Rachel Page

University of Texas at Austin










Sensory ecology of foraging behavior. Animals use a wide array of environmental cues to inform them about their environment. My research investigates the use of sensory cues in foraging. The frog-eating bat, Trachops cirrhosus, uses frog advertisement calls to detect, locate, and assess its prey. In my research, I assess bats' use of diverse sensory modalities such as passive acoustic cues, echolocation, and chemical cues. I also quantify the ability of bats to flexibly switch from the use of one sensory modality to another.



Cognitive ecology: the role of learning and memory in foraging success. The acquisition, retention, and retrieval of information can be critical to the foraging success of a predator. My experiments investigate individual trial-and-error learning, social learning, and the persistence of learned associations over time in foraging behavior.




Role of eavesdroppers in signal evolution. Eavesdroppers play a critical role in the evolution the sexual advertisement signals of their prey. Ongoing collaborations with Michael J. Ryan and Ximena E. Bernal investigate the evolution of complex acoustic vocalizations by the male túngara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus. We are interested in quantifying the opposing selection pressures imposed by female túngara frogs, acoustically-orienting blood-sucking flies, and frog-eating bats to better understand the roles of predators and parasites in complex communication networks. 










Bat illustration by Kristina Schlegel, ©2007