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Ronald R. Hoy

D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor

Seeley G Mudd Bio Science Wing, Room W215



I have an active research career in the area of comparative bioacoustics, auditory neuroscience, and model systems for the study of seizure disorders in the nervous system. I have an active teaching career in the field of neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and animal communication.


Communication biology of insects


  • Neurobiology and Behavior

Graduate Fields

  • Cognitive Science
  • Computational Biology
  • Entomology
  • Neurobiology and Behavior


Continuation of studies on the neuroethology of acoustic communication in insects. This includes a study of the biophysics and neurophysiology of hearing, as well as an analysis of the behavioral response to salient acoustic signals. In particular, we study the mate calls, rivalry calls, and courtship calls that are produced by crickets and katydids. In addition, we are investigating the anti-predator reactions made by crickets in response to ultrasonic biosonar signals of insectivorous bats--an acoustic startle reaction in insects. We have shown that acoustic startle in insects shares many behavioral parallels with acoustic startle in mammals, including behavioral plasticity, such as habituation, sensitization, and the like. We are also investigating novel mechanisms of directional sensitivity that are a characteristic of some insectan hearing organs. In particular, we are investigating the tympanal hearing organ of parasitoid tachinid flies, which parasitize crickets and locate them by homing in on the cricket's mating calls. In collaboration with Dr. Ron Miles, at Binghamton University, we have developed a engineering model of the fly's ear that we hope to "biomimic" into a directionally-sensitive, minuscule microphone, which could be inserted into a hearing aid, thus conferring directional sensitivity to hearing aids, which is at present a shortcoming of hearing prosthesis.

We are also investigating the visual system of various species of flies, in particular those that also use hearing to direct their flight course ("steering"). We are interested in the interaction between visually guided steering and acoustically guided steering, with the aim of investigating how multimodal sensory information is processed by common motor pathways in the CNS. This is a "hot" topic in mammalian neurobiology and we feel that insights gained from insect systems will provide "models" of information processing that will be applicable to the more complex systems of mammals.


  • Krans, J. L., Rivlin, P. K., and Hoy, R. R.  (in press).  Tools for physiology labs: An inexpensive means of temperature control. J. Undergrad. Neurosci. Ed. (
  • Krans, J. L., Rivlin, P. K., and Hoy, R. R.  (in press).  Temperature sensitivity and vesicle recycling: Exercises designed for undergraduate neuroscience courses. J. Undergrad. Neurosci. Ed. (
  • Lott, G., Craighead, H., and Hoy, R. R. (2007).  A polyimide pressure-contact multi-electrode array for implantation along a sub-millimeter process in small animals – IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.
  • Lott, G., Rosen, M. J., and Hoy, R. R.  (2007).  An inexpensive sub-millisecond system for walking measurements of small animals based on optical computer mouse technology.  Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 161(1):55-61.
  • Robert, D. and Hoy, R. R. (2007).  "Auditory Systems in Insects." In: "Invertebrate Neurobiology," Ed. G. North & R.J. Greenspan.  Cold Spring Harbor Press. N.Y.
  • Elias, D. O., Land, B. R., Mason, A. C., and Hoy, R. R.  (2006).  Measuring and quantifying dynamic visual signals in jumping spiders.  J. Comp. Physhiol. A.
  • Elias, D. O., Hebets, E.A., and Hoy, R. R.  (2006).  Female preference for complex/novel signals in a spider.  Behavioral Ecology.
  • Spence, A. J., Neeves, K. B., Murphy, D., Sponberg, S., Land, B. R.,  Hoy, R. R., Isaacson, M. S. (2006).  Flexible multielecrodes can resolve multiple muscles in an insect appendage.  Journal of Neuroscience Methods.  NSM-4327; No. of Pages 9.
  • Arthur, B. J. and Hoy, R. R. (2006).  The ability of the parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea to distinguish sounds in the vertical plane.  J. Acoust. Soc. Am 120 (3), September 2006.
  • Bushbeck, E. K. and Hoy, R. R. (2005).  The development of a long, coiled, optic nerve in the stalk-eyed fly Cyrtodiopsis whitei.  Cell Tissue Res., 321: 491-504.
  • Wyttenbach, R. A.  (2005).  PsyCog: Explorations in Perception and Cognition. (CD-ROM) Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates.
  • Miles, R. N. and Hoy, R. R.  (2005).  The development of biologically-inspired directional microphone for hearing aids.  Audiol Neurotol 368-T1.
  • Hoy, R. R.  (2004).  New math for biology is the old new math. Cell Biology Education 3: 90-92.
  • Hoy, R. R., Wyttenbach, R. A., Rivlin, P. K., and Johnson. B. R.  (2004).  Three projects that provide modular supplements for lectures & labs in neuroscience, cognitive studies, psychology, and genetics. Invention and Impact in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) Education. MAS.
  • Land, B. R., Johnson, B. R, Wyttenbach, R. A., and Hoy, R. R.  (2004).  Tools for physiology labs: Inexpensive equipment for physiological stimulation. J. Undergrad. Neurosci. Ed. 3:A30-35 (
  • Rivlin, P. K., Wyttenbach, R. A., Mitschelen, M. C., and Hoy, R. R.  (2004).  Fruitfly: Discovering the neural basis of behavior through genetic dissection. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 29.11.
  • Wyttenbach, R. A. and Hoy, R. R.  (2004).  A hands-on approach to learning about hearing and sound. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 30.
  • Buschbeck, E. K., Ehmer, B., and Hoy, R. R.  (2003).  The unusual visual system of the Strepsiptera:  eye and neuropils.  J Comp Physiol A. J. 189: 617-630.
  • Wyttenbach, R. A. and Hoy, R. R.  (2003).  From subjective experience to neural mechanism: Interactive demonstrations and experiments for psychology and neuroscience. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 29.
  • Johnson, B. R., Vilinsky, I., Rivlin, P. K., Wyttenbach, R. A., and Hoy, R. R.  (2002).  Mystery mutants: Using mutations at Drosophila neuromuscular junctions to teach principles of neuronal communication. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 28.
  • Johnson, B. R., Wyttenbach, R.A., Wayne, R., and Hoy, R.R.  (2002).  Action potentials in a giant algal cell: A comparative approach to mechanisms and evolution of excitability. J. Undergrad. Neurosci. Educ. 1:A23-27 (
  • Land, B. R., Johnson, B. R., and Wyttenbach, R.A.  (2002).  Stimscope: A virtual instrument for neurophysiology in the teaching lab. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 28.
  • Johnson, B. R., Wyttenbach, R. A., and Hoy, R. R.  (2002).  The crawdad project: Crustaceans as model systems for teaching principles of neuroscience. In: Frontiers in Crustacean Neurobiology (K. Wiese and M. Schmidt, eds.). Berlin: Springer Verlag.
  • Land, B. R., Wyttenbach, R. A., and Johnson, B. R.  (2001).  Tools for physiology labs: An inexpensive high-performance amplifier and electrode for extracellular recording. J. Neurosci. Meth. 106:47-55.
  • Land, B. R., Wyttenbach, R. A., Johnson, B. R., and Hoy, R. R.  (2001).  Inexpensive electronics for the teaching lab. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 27. .
  • Johnson, B. R., Wyttenbach, R. A., and Hoy, R. R.  (2000).  Examining neuronal excitability by intracellular recording from the brain of a land snail. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 26.
  • Johnson, B. R., Wyttenbach, R. A., Heitler, W. J., and Hoy, R. R.  (1999).  The resting potential as a dynamic baseline for neuronal excitability. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 25.
  • Wyttenbach, R. A., JoImson, B. R., and Hoy, R. R.  (1999).  Crawdad: A CD-ROM Lab Manual/or Neurophysiology. Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates.
  • Wyttenbach, R. A., Johnson, B. R., and Hoy, R. R.  (1999).  Introducing electrophysiological recording and passive electrical properties of membranes. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 25.
  • Buschbeck, E., B. Ehmer, and R.R. Hoy (1999). Chunk versus point sampling: Visual imaging in a small insect. Science 286:1178-1180.
  • Farris, H.E., T.G. Forrest, and R.R. Hoy (1998). The effect of ultrasound on the attractiveness of acoustic mating signals. Physiological Entomology 23:322-328.
  • Farris , H.E. and R.R. Hoy (1998). Two-tone suppression of the ultrasound induced startle response in a cricket. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 103:2826-2827.
  • Buschbeck, E.K. and R.R. Hoy (1998). Visual system of the stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis quinqueguttata (Diopsidae, Diptera: An anatomical investigation of unusual eyes. Journal of Neurobiology 37:449-468.
  • Adamo, S.A. and R.R. Hoy. (1994). Mating behavior of the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus and its dependence on social and environmental cues. Anim. Behav. 47:857-868.