Jill Amy Soha

Visiting Scholar, Nowicki Lab, Duke University Department of Biology

2002-2009: Curator and Research Associate, Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, The Ohio State University

Contact Information

Duke University
Department of Biology
PO Box 90338
Durham, NC 27708

x@y.z where x=jill, y=padd, and z=com


University of California, Davis, CA; MS in Ecology (1995), PhD in Animal Behavior (1999)
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA; BS with Honor in Biology (1993)

Research Interests

Animal communication; vocal development and evolution in songbirds.

Research and Publications

June 2004-Present

Studied song learning, geographic song variation and song discrimination in the grasshopper sparrow and am assisting with studies in other species.

January 2000-June 2002 (The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH)

Used microsatellite DNA analysis to investigate whether genetic differentiation exists between song dialect populations of the migratory pugetensis subspecies of the white-crowned sparrow, to address the question of whether song learning, which can give rise to geographical dialect formation, might also lead to population divergence and potentially to speciation. This was an NSF-funded postdoctoral fellowship sponsored by Dr. Doug Nelson (see also his research page) and Dr. Patty Parker (now at UM St. Louis).

September 1993-December 1999 (University of California, Davis, CA)

Investigated song learning and recognition in white-crowned sparrows in the lab of Dr. Peter Marler. This included design and synthesis of tutor songs, song recording and analysis, testing vocal response of young birds to song playback and conducting field playback experiments. I also assisted with a study of environmental factors affecting song learning, including assay of plasma testosterone, and collaborated on neurophysiological experiments with Dr. Allison Doupe at UCSF. Funded by an NIH predoctoral fellowship and an NSF research training grant award.

September 1991-April 1993 (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA)

Completed an undergraduate thesis project in the lab of Dr. Mark Konishi to determine the role and development of catecholamines in the neural song system of the zebra finch. This involved histology, performance of chemical and electrolytic lesions, song recording and analysis, photomicrography and darkroom use.

Summer 1991 (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY)

Recorded birds in the field and analyzed the recordings as part of a project to perfect a technique of acoustically locating birds using field microphones. I also assisted with capture, measurement, labeling, and release of Northern Cardinals for behavioral studies, and analyzed recordings of whale song for a species monitoring project in the bioacoustics lab of Dr. Chris Clark.

Summers 1989, 1990 (Eunice K. Shriver Center, Waltham, MA)

Studied cerebellar development of mutant mice through cell counts, performed microinjections for production of transgenic mice, designed oligoprimers for detecting presence of transgene DNA, and purified and tested DNA. I also did laboratory organization, computer programming and data processing in the lab of Dr. Karl Herrup.

Updated January 2019