Andrew Bass

Horace White Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior


I am a behavioral and evolutionary neuroscientist. The goal of my teaching and research endeavors is to explain how phenotypic variation in vertebrate brain organization leads to adaptive behavioral phenotypes. I communicate these ideas through the courses that I teach and the seminars and symposia that I participate in each year both nationally and internationally. It is in the same adaptive context that my research projects use sound-producing/ vocalizing teleost fish as model systems to establish the operating principles of the vocal and auditory systems of vertebrates.

Research Focus

Research in our laboratory focuses on two projects concerning the central and peripheral nervous systems of sound-producing/ "vocalizing" teleost fishes: (1) Characterization, and hormonal influences on, sex differences in the morphology of single, physiologically-identified neurons. (2) Temporal and spectral encoding of acoustic communication signals. These projects revolve around studies of alternative mating tactics in species with two male morphs that differ in a large suite of behavioral, neurobiological and neuroendocrine characters including divergent acoustic courtship behaviors and vocal control pathways. We answer questions regarding the existence of behaviors and their underlying mechanisms using a multidisciplinary, neuroethological approach that combines field studies of vocal communication with laboratory studies of the nervous system that utilize one or more of the following approaches: neurophysiology combined with anatomical tract tracing, neuroendocrinology, electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry, and in situ hybridization. 


  • Tripp, J. A., N. Y. Feng, A. H. Bass (2018) Behavioral tactic more strongly predicts preoptic-hypothalamic gene expression than developmental morph in a fish with alternative reproductive tactics. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 285 (1871): 20172742
  • Feng, N. Y. and A. H. Bass (2017) Neurohormones, genomics and acoustic communication in fish. In: Hormones, Brain, and Behavior 3rd Edition (D. Pfaff, M. Joëls, A. Auger, C. Auger, S. Lightman, J. Balthazart, R. de Kloet and G. Gonzalez-Mariscal, Eds.) Elsevier, pp. 47-68.
  • Feng, N.Y. and Bass, A. H. (2016) ‘Singing' fish rely on circadian clock and melatonin for the timing of nocturnal courtship vocalization. Current Biology 26(19): 2681-2689.
  • Bass, A. H. (2016) Hearing and hormones: paying homage to the comparative approach. In: A. H. Bass, J.A. Sisneros, R. Fay and A. Popper (Eds.), Hearing and Hormones. Vol. 57, Springer Handbook of Auditory Research, Pp. 1-14. Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, New York.
  • Forlano, P. M., K. Maruska, J. A. Sisneros and A. H. Bass (2016) Hormone-dependent plasticity of auditory systems in fishes. In: A. H. Bass, J.A. Sisneros, R. Fay and A. Popper (Eds.), Hearing and Hormones. Vol. 57, Springer Handbook of Auditory Research, Pp. 15-51. Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, New York.
  • Albersheim-Carter J, Blubaum A, Ballagh IH, Missaghi K, Siuda ER, McMurray G, Bass AH, Dubuc R, Kelley DB, Schmidt MF, Wilson RJ, Gray PA. (2015). Testing the evolutionary conservation of vocal motoneurons in vertebrates. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2015 Jul 6. pii: S1569-9048(15)30013-6. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2015.06.010. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Fergus, D.J., Feng, N.Y., Bass, A.H. (2015). Gene expression underlying enhanced, steroid-dependent auditory sensitivity of hair cell epithelium in a vocal fish. BMC Genomics 16(1): 782. doi: 10.1186/s12864-015-1940-3.        
  • Feng, N.Y., Fergus, D.J., Bass, A.H. (2015). Neural transcriptome reveals molecular mechanisms for temporal control of vocalization across multiple timescales. BMC Genomics 16:417.doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1577-2.
  • Forlano PM, Sisneros JA, Rohmann KN, Bass AH. Neuroendocrine control of seasonal plasticity in the auditory and vocal systems of fish. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2015 Apr;37:129-45. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Aug 26. Review.
  • Bass A.H., Chagnaud B.P., Feng N.Y. (2015). Comparative Neurobiology of Sound Production in Fishes. Sound Communication in Fishes. Animal Signals and Communication. Vienna: Springer Vienna, Vol. 4. pp. 35–75. doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-1846-7_2
  • Forlano, P. A., J. A. Sisneros, K. N. Rohmann and A. H. Bass,  (2014) Neuroendocrine controls of seasonal plasticity in the auditory and vocal systems of fish. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bass, A. H. (2014) Central pattern generator for vocalization: Is there a vertebrate morphotype? Current Opinion in Neurobiology 28: 94-100
  • Chagnaud, B. P. and A. H. Bass (2014) Vocal behavior and vocal central pattern generator organization diverge among toadfishes. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 84:51-65.
  • Feng, N. and A. H. Bass (2014) Melatonin action in a midbrain vocal-acoustic network. Journal of Experimental Biology 271:1046-1057. 
  • McIver, E., Marchaterre, M. A., Rice, A. N. and Bass, A. H. (2014) Novel underwater soundscape: acoustic repertoire of plainfin midshipman fish. Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 2377-2389. 
  • Rohmann, K. N., Tripp, J. A., Genova, R. M. and Bass, A.H. (2014) Manipulation of BK channel expression is sufficient to alter auditory hair cell thresholds in larval zebrafish. Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 2531-2539. 
  • Chagnaud, B. P. and Bass, A.H. (2013) Vocal corollary discharge communicates call duration to vertebrate auditory system. Journal of Neuroscience 33:18775-18780. 
  • Rohmann, K. N., D. Fergus, and A. H. Bass (2013) Plasticity in ion channel expression underlies variation in hearing during reproductive cycles. Current Biology 23:678-683. [Featured in Dispatch by H. Zakon (2013) Sensory plasticity: Seasonal regulation of hearing by a potassium channel. Current Biology 23: R321-R322. 
  • Fergus D, Bass, A .H. (2013) Localization and divergent profiles of estrogen receptors and aromatase in the vocal and auditory networks of a fish with alternative mating tactics. Journal of Comparative Neurology 521: 2850-2869. 
  • Bass, A. H and B. Chagnaud (2012) Shared developmental and evolutionary origins of neural basis of vocal-acoustic and pectoral-gestural signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 109 Suppl 1:10677-84. 
  • Chagnaud, B., M. C. Zee, R. Baker, and A. H. Bass (2012) Innovations in motoneuron synchrony drive rapid temporal modulations in vertebrate acoustic signaling. Journal of Neurophysiology 107:3528-3542.
  • Chagnaud, B., R. Baker, and A. H. Bass (2011) Vocalization frequency and duration are coded in separate hindbrain nuclei. Nature Communications 2:346, June 14 2011 (online publication) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1349
  • Rice, A., Land, B. R., and A. H. Bass (2011) Nonlinear acoustic complexity in a fish “two-voice” system. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 278: 3762-3768. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2011.0656
  • Rohmann, K. N., and A. H. Bass (2011) Seasonal plasticity of auditory hair cell frequency sensitivity correlates with plasma steroid levels in a vocal fish. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:1931-1942.
  • Arterbery, A. S, D. J. Fergus, E. A. Fogarty, J, Mayberry ,D. L. Deitcher, W. L. Kraus and A. H. Bass (2011) Evolution of ligand specificity in vertebrate corticosteroid receptors. BMC Evolutionary Biology, Jan 14, 11:14.
  • Forlano, P.M., and A. H. Bass (2011) Neural and hormonal mechanisms of reproductive-related arousal in fishes. Hormones and Behavior 59:616-629.
  • Ma, L-H., E. Gilland, A. H. Bass and R. Baker (2010) Ancestry of innervation to pectoral fin and forelimb. Nature Communications 1: 1-8 (July 27 2010).
  • Forlano, P. M., M. A. Marchaterre, D. L. Deitcher and A. H. Bass (2010) Distribution of androgen receptor mRNA expression in vocal, auditory and neuroendocrine circuits in a teleost fish. Journal of Comparative Neurology 518 (4): 493-512.
  • Rubow, T. K. and A. H. Bass (2009) Reproductive and diurnal rhythms regulate vocal motor plasticity in a teleost fish. Journal of Experimental Biology 212: 3252-3262.
  • Rohmann, K. N., D. L. Deitcher and A. H. Bass (2009) Calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels are encoded by duplicate slo1 genes in teleosts. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26(7) 1509-1521.
  • Bass, A. H., E. Gilland and R. Baker (2008) Evolutionary origins for social vocalization in a vertebrate hindbrain-spinal compartment. Science 321: 417-421 (also Perspective by D. Margoliash and M. E. Hale, pp. 347-348).
  • Remage-Healey, L. H. and A. H. Bass (2007) Plasticity in brain sexuality is revealed by the rapid actions of steroid hormones. The Journal of Neuroscience 27 (4): 1114-1122. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4282-06.2007
  • Santangelo, N. and A. H. Bass (2006) New insights into neuropeptide modulation of aggression: Field studies in a territorial tropical damselfish. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B (London). 273(1605): 3085-3092. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3683.
  • Kittelberger, J. M., B. R. Land and A. H. Bass (2006) The midbrain periaqueductal gray and vocal patterning in a teleost fish. Journal of Neurophysiology 96: 71-85. doi:10.1152/jn.00067.2006
  • Weeg, M. S., B. R. Land and A. H. Bass (2005) Temporal Modulation of efferents to the inner ear and lateral line by central vocal pathways. The Journal of Neuroscience 25, 5967-5974.
  • Sisneros, J., P. Forlano, D. Deitcher and A. H. Bass (2004) Steroid-dependent auditory plasticity leads to adaptive coupling of sender and receiver. Science 305: 404-407 (chosen for Perspective, 305: 349). DOI: 10.1126/science.1097218
  • Goodson, J. L. and A. H. Bass (2001) Behavioral and anatomical characteristics of vasotocin/vasopressin systems in vertebrates: conservation and diversification. Brain Research Reviews 35: 246-265 [plus 36: 91-94].
  • Goodson, J. L. and A. H. Bass (2000) Forebrain peptide modulation of sexually polymorphic vocal motor circuitry. Nature 403: 769-772.

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