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Michael J Ryan

Department of Integrative Biology

Clark Hubbs Regents Professorship in Zoology (Holder)

Evolution and mechanisms of animal behavior, especially sexual selection and communication


Phone: 512-554-2433

Office Location
PAT 107

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Ph.D., Cornell University (1977-1982)
M.S., Rutgers University (1975-1977)
B.A., Glassboro State College (1971-1975)

Research Summary:

Dr. Ryan studies animal behavior. Most of his work has addressed sexual selection and communication in frogs and fish. He is especially interested in integrating an understanding of the mechanisms of communication involved in mate attraction with the evolutionary consequences of sexual selection. More information - see a longer description (with pictures) of Dr. Ryan's research interests and more information on the Ryan lab.

Evolution and mechanisms of animal behavior, especially sexual selection and communication

2008 Cummings ME, Bernal XE, Reynaga R, Rand AS, Ryan MJ., Visual sensitivity to a conspicuous male cue varies by reproductive state in Physalaemus pustulosus females., J Exp Biol. 211: 1203-10

2008 Baugh AT, Akre KL, Ryan MJ., Categorical perception of a natural, multivariate signal: mating call recognition in túngara frogs., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105: 8985-8

2007 Ryan MJ, Bernal XE, Rand AS., Patterns of mating call preferences in túngara frogs, Physalaemus pustulosus., J Evol Biol. 20: 2235-2247

2007 Ryan MJ, Akre KL, Kirkpatrick M., Mate choice., Curr Biol. 17: R313-6

2007 Pfennig KS, Ryan MJ., Character displacement and the evolution of mate choice: an artificial neural network approach., Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 362: 411-419

2007 Hoke KL, Ryan MJ, Wilczynski W., Integration of sensory and motor processing underlying social behaviour in túngara frogs., Proc Biol Sci. 274: 641-649

2007 Bernal XE, Page RA, Rand AS, Ryan MJ., Cues for Eavesdroppers: Do Frog Calls Indicate Prey Density and Quality?, Am Nat. 169:

2007 Boul KE, Funk WC, Darst CR, Cannatella DC, Ryan MJ., Sexual selection drives speciation in an Amazonian frog., Proc Biol Sci. 274: 399-406

  • 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2011 Fellow Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute of Advanced Studies), Berlin
  • 2011 College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, University of Texas
  • 2011 ING Professor of Excellence, University of Texas
  • 2010 E.O. Wilson Naturalist Award, American Society of Naturalists
  • 2008 Joseph Grinnell Medal, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Univ. Calif., Berkeley
  • 2007 Exemplar Award, Center for Integrative Studies in Animal Behavior, Indiana U.
  • 2007 Presidential sequence, Animal Behavior Society
  • 2007 Selected as one of 25 "Leaders in Animal Behavior" (Cambridge Univ. Press. 2010)
  • 2006 Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society
  • 2001 Outstanding Academic Title (Choice Magazine) Anuran Communication (ed.M.J. Ryan)
  • 2001 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1997 Guggenheim Fellow
  • 1997 Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1997 Distinguished Visiting Professor, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
  • 1996 Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Torino, Italy
  • 1995 Distinguished Herpetologist, Herpetologists’ League
  • 1994 Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New ZealandM.J. Ryan – Vitae
  • 1994 Distinguished Visiting Animal Behaviorist, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • 1993-date Clark Hubbs Regents Professor in Zoology, University of Texas, Austin
  • 1993 Visiting Distinguished Professor, University of Miami, Miami
  • 1989 Visiting Professor, Wake Forest University
  • 1985-1987, 1990-1991, Reeder Fellowship in Ecology and Evolution, University of Texas, Austin
  • 1985 Young Investigator Award, American Society of Naturalists
  • 1982-1984 Miller Fellow, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1981 Herpetologists' League Award, “Best Student Paper” - Evolution Category, Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1980 Stoye Award, American Society of Ichthyologists & Herpetologists, "Best Student Paper"
  • (Ecology, Ethology, Evolution), Fort Worth, Texas
  • 1978 Herpetologists' League Award, "Best Student Paper",Tempe, Arizona
  • 1975 Outstanding Biology Student Medallion, Glassboro State College