Dr. Jordanna H. Sprayberry

Assistant professor of biology

Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience
New Science Building 115 / 484-664-3249
jordannasprayberry@muhlenberg.edu / Website

Education
B.S., University of Rhode Island
Ph.D., University of Washington
Postdoctoral fellow, University of Washington
Postdoctoral fellow, University of Arizona

Research Program

I am fundamentally interested in how animals work – what drives their behavior, and how their behavior affects evolutionary and ecological relationships. I fulfill these interests with a research program broadly organized around the neuroethology of pollination, how sensory processing of pollinators drives behavior, as well as relevant plant-insect interactions. I utilize diverse techniques in my pursuit of these questions, including computational analysis, neurophysiology, field studies, and behavior. Moreover, I actively involve student researchers in the process – providing them with a diverse experimental and analytical toolkit. Examples of ongoing collaborative research with students include:

Effects of noninsecticidal agrochemicals on bumblebee olfaction
Bumblebees are critical pollinators in natural and agricultural ecosystems. While foraging, they receive complex sensory signals from flowers, including olfactory information. Interestingly, agrochemicals can have strong olfactory signatures themselves. When applied directly to flowering crops, this confounding olfactory information could have negative consequences on bumblebee foraging behavior. My lab is investigating how non-insecticidal agrochemicals modify foraging behavior in bumblebees from both behavioral and neurophysiological perspectives.

Visual and olfactory integration in bumblebees
Sensory information produced by flowers is presumably used as an advertisement to pollinators.  These floral signals are typically multi-modal.  Interestingly, until recently, most investigations of pollinator behavior have focused on uni-modal stimuli. In seeking to understand bumblebee foraging behavior, it would be beneficial to understand the relative roles of visual and olfactory information.  Periodic investigations in my lab focus on how olfactory and visual information are combined to drive decision making in foraging bumblebees.

Courses

  • Neurons & Networks (NSC 311)
  • Sensory Systems & Behavior (NSC 3XX)
  • Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience (NSC 401)