Peter Narins, Ph.D.

Work Titles
UCLA Distinguished Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology Distinguished Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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(310) 206-8407

(310) 825-0265

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Los Angeles, CA 90095

Los Angeles, CA 90095

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Auditory Neurophysiology, Mechanics and Behavior My research focuses on the question of how animals extract relevant sounds from the often highly noisy backgrounds in which they live. The techniques I use are the quantitative analysis of vocal behavior of animals in their natural habitats, followed by single fiber neurophysiological recordings in order to elucidate mechanisms underlying signal processing in noise. A second research direction is based on the discovery of the remarkable sensitivity to substrate vibrations possessed by burrowing animals. We are now characterizing and providing accurate measurements of vibrational thresholds as well as exploring the differences between substrate-vibration and airborne sound at the cellular level. Other projects carried out by our group have included an investigation of the neurophysiological basis of sound localization in noisy environments, a study of the temperature-dependence of the representation of time in the vertebrate auditory system, the biophysics of sound localization and the evolution of the middle ear reflex in vertebrates. Current projects include using laser Doppler vibrometry to elucidate the sound pathways relevant for stimulation of both the middle and inner ear in small vertebrates, and using whole-cell voltage clamp techniques to carry out an anatomical and physiological study of the mechanisms underlying transduction in vertebrate sensory hair cells. When possible, we supplement the lab work with direct behavioral observations and controlled acoustic playback studies carried out with animals in their natural habitats. These have included both Old and New World lowland wet tropical forests, African deserts and temperate forests in South America.


Kershenbaum, A., Blumstein, D.T., Roch, M.A., Bee, M., Narins, P.M. and 39 others   Acoustic sequences in non-human animals: A tutorial review and prospectus, Biological Reviews , 2016; 91: 13-52.
Simmons, A. and Narins, P.M.   Effects of anthropogenic noise on amphibians and reptiles, In: Human-Generated Sound and Animals, H. Slabbekoorn, R.R. Fay, A.N. Popper (eds.), 2016; (In Press).
Narins, P.M., Stoeger-Horwath, A. and O’Connell-Rodwell, C.   Infrasound and seismic communication in the vertebrates with special emphasis on the Afrotheria: An update and future directions, In: Vertebrate Sound Production and Acoustic Communication. R.A. Suthers, W.T. Fitch, A.N. Popper, R.R. Fay (eds.), 2016; (In Press).
Narins, P.M. and Clark, G.A.   Principles of matched filtering with auditory examples from selected vertebrates, In: The Ecology of Animal Senses: Matched Filtering for Economical Sensing. G. von der Emde, E. Warrant (eds.), 2016; 111-140.
Bergevin, C., Meenderink, S.W.F., Van der Heijden, M. and Narins, P.M.   Slow dynamics of the amphibian tympanic membrane, Mechanics of Hearing: Protein to Perception, K.D. Karavitaki, D.P. Corey (eds.), 2015; 060001-1 - 060001-5.
Narins, P.M. and Meenderink, S.W.F.   Climate change and frog calls: Long-term correlations along a tropical altitudinal gradient, Proc. R. Soc. B, 2014; 281: 20140401.
Narins, P.M., Wilson, M. and Mann, D.   Ultrasound detection in fishes and frogs: Discovery and mechanisms, In: Insights from Comparative Hearing Research. C. Köppl, G.A, Manley, A.N. Popper, R.R. Fay (eds.), 2014; 133-156.
Miller, M.E., Nasiri, A.K., Farhangi, P.O., Farahbakhsh, N.A., Lopez, I.A., Narins, P.M. and Simmons, D.D.   Evidence for water-permeable channels in auditory hair cells in the leopard frog, Hear. Res, 2012; 292: 64-70.
Quiñones, P.M., Luu, C., Schweizer, F.E. and Narins, P.M.   Exocytosis in the frog amphibian papilla, J. Asso. Res. Otolaryngol, 2012; .
Manley, G.A., Narins, P.M. and Fay, R.R.   Experiments in comparative hearing: Georg von Békésy and beyond, Hear. Res, 2012; 293: 44-50.
Arch, V.S., Simmons, D.D., Quiñones, P.M., Feng, A.S., Jiang, J., Stuart, B., Shen, J.-X., Blair, C. and Narins, P.M.   Inner ear morphological correlates of ultrasonic hearing in frogs, Hear. Res, 2012; 283: 70-79.
Cui, J., Tang, Y. and Narins, P.M.   Real estate ads in Emei music frog vocalizations: female preference for calls emanating from burrows, Biol. Letters, 2012; 8: 337-340.
Narins, P.M. and Willi, U.B.   The golden mole middle ear: a sensor for airborne and substrate-borne vibrations, In: Frontiers in Sensing: Biology and Engineering. F.G. Barth, J.A.C. Humphrey, M.V. Srinivasan (eds.), 2012; 275-286.
Chen, H.-h. A. and Narins, P.M.   Wind turbines and ghost stories: The effects of infrasound on the human auditory system, Acoustics Today, 2012; 8: 51-56.
Shen, J.-X., Xu, Z.-M., Feng, A. and Narins, P.M.   Large odorous frogs (Odorrana graminea) produce ultrasonic calls, J. Comp. Physiol, 2011; 197: 1027-1030.
Ziegler, L., Arim, M. and Narins, P.M.   Linking amphibian call structure to the environment: The interplay of phenotypic flexibility and individual attributes, Behav. Ecol, 2011; 22: 520-526.
van Dijk, P., Mason, M.J., Schoffelen, R.L.M., Narins, P.M. and Meenderink, S.W.F.   Mechanics of the frog ear, Hear. Res, 2011; 273: 46-58.
Farahbakhsh, N.A., Zelaya, J.E. and Narins, P.M.   Osmotic properties of auditory hair cells in theleopard frog: Evidence for water-permeable channels, Hear. Res, 2011; 272: 69-84.
Arch, V.S., Burmeister, S.S., Feng, A.S., Shen, J.-X. and Narins, P.M.   Ultrasound-evoked immediate early gene expression in the brainstem of the Chinese torrent frog, Odorrana tormota, J. Comp. Physiol, 2011; 197: 667-675.
Kaiser, K., Scofield, D.G., Alloush, M., Jones, R.M., Marczak, S., Martineau, K., Oliva, M.A. and Narins, P.M.   When sounds collide: The effect of anthropogenic noise on a breeding assemblage of frogs in Belize, Central America, Behaviour, 2011; 148: 215-232.
Meenderink, S.W.F., Kits, M. and Narins, P.M.   Frequency matching of vocalizations to inner-ear sensitivity along an altitudinal gradient in the coqui frog, Biol. Letters, 2010; 6: 278-281.
Gridi-Papp, M. and Narins, P.M.   Seismic detection and communication in amphibians, In: The use of vibrations in communication: Properties, mechanisms and function across taxa, C.E. O’Connell-Rodwell, (ed.), 2010; 69-83.
Mason, M. and Narins, P.M.   Seismic sensitivity and communication in subterranean mammals, In: The use of vibrations in communication: Properties, mechanisms and function across taxa, C.E. O’Connell-Rodwell (ed.), 2010; 121-139.
Gridi-Papp, M. and Narins, P.M.   Environmental influences in the evolution of tetrapod hearing sensitivity and middle ear tuning, Int. & Comp. Biol, 2009; 49: 702-716.
Wong, S., Parada, H. and Narins, P.M.   Heterospecific acoustic interference: Effects on calling in Oophaga pumilio, Biotropica, 2009; 41: 74-80.
Arch, V.S., Grafe, T.U., Gridi-Papp, M. and Narins, P.M.   Pure ultrasonic communication in an endemic Bornean frog, PloS ONE, 2009; 4(4): e5413.
Narins, P.M., Losin, N. and O'Connell-Rodwell, C.E.   Seismic and vibrational signals in animals, In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience (L. Squire, Ed.), 2009; 8: 555-559.
Arch, V.S. and Narins, P.M.   Sexual Hearing: The influence of sex hormones on acoustic communication in frogs, Hear. Res, 2009; 252: 15-20.
Mason, M.J., Wang, M. and Narins, P.M.   Structure and function of the middle ear apparatus of the aquatic frog, Xenopus laevis, Proc. Inst. Acoust, 2009; 31: 13-21.
Penna, M., Gormáz, J.P. and Narins, P.M.   When signal meets noise: immunity of the frog ear to interference, Naturwissenschaften, 2009; 10.1007/s001 14-009-0542-9: .
Willi, U.B., Bronner, G.N., Narins, P.M.   Middle ear dynamics in response to seismic stimuli in the Cape golden mole, J. Exp. Biol, 2006; 209: 302-313.
Gridi-Papp, M., Feng, A.S., Shen, J.-X., Yu. Z.-L. and Narins, P.M.   Active control of ultrasonic hearing in frogs, PNAS, 2008; 105: 11013-11018.
Gridi-Papp, M. and Narins, P.M.   Sensory Ecology of Hearing, In: The Senses: A Comprehensive Reference, Vol. 3, Audition A.I. Basbaum, A. Kaneko, G.M. Shepherd, G. Westheimer, eds. (P. Dallos, D. Oertel, Series eds.), 2008; 61-74.
Farahbakhsh, N.A. and Narins, P.M.   Slow motility in hair cells of the frog amphibian papilla: Myosin-II mediated shape change, Hear. Res, 2008; 241: 7-17.
Feng, A.S. and Narins, P.M.   Ultrasonic communication in concave-eared torrent frogs (Amolops) , J. Comp. Physiol, 2008; 194: 159-167.
Shen, J.-X., Feng, A.S., Xu, Z.-M., Yu, Z.-L., Arch, V.S., Yu, X.-J. and Narins, P.M.   Ultrasonic frogs show hyperacute phonotaxis to female’s courtship calls, Nature, 2008; 453: 914-916.
Arch, V.S., Grafe, T.U. and Narins, P.M.   Ultrasonic signaling by a Bornean frog, Biol. Letters, 2008; 4: 19-22.
Arch, V.S. and Narins, P.M.   “Silent” signals: Selective forces acting on ultrasonic communication signals in terrestrial vertebrates, Animal Behavior, 2008; 76: 1423-1428.
Narins, P.M., Feng, A.S., Fay, R.R., Popper, A.N.   Hearing and Sound Communication in Amphibians, Springer, New York, 2007; .
Meenderink, S.W.F. and Narins, P.M.   Suppression of distortion product otoacoustic emissions in the anuran basilar papilla, J. Acoust. Soc. Am, 2007; 121: 344-351.
Ho, C.C.K. and Narins, P.M.   Directionality of pressure-difference receiver ears in the northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens pipiens, J. Comp. Physiol, 2006; 192: 417-429.
Willi, U.B., Bronner, G.N. and Narins, P.M.   Ossicular differentiation of airborne and seismic stimuli in the Cape golden mole (Chrysochloris asiatica), J. Comp. Physiol, 2006; 192: 267-277.
Lewis, E.R., Narins, P.M., Jarvis, J.U.M., Bronner, G. and Mason, M.J.   Preliminary evidence for the use of microseismic cues for navigation by the Namib golden mole, J. Acoust. Soc. Am, 2006; 119: 1260-1268.
Farahbakhsh, N.A. and Narins, P.M.   Slow motility in hair cells of the frog amphibian papilla: , Hear. Res, 2006; 212: 140-159.
Meenderink, S.W.F. and Narins, P.M.   Stimulus frequency otoacoustic emissions in the Northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens pipiens: Implications for inner ear mechanics, Hearing Research, 2006; 220: 67-75.
Feng, A.S., Narins, P.M., Xu, C.-H., Lin, W.-Y., Yu, Z.-L., Qiu, Q., Xu, Z.-M. and Shen, J.-X.   Ultrasonic communication in frogs, Nature , 2006; 440: 333-336.
Suthers, R.A., Narins, P.M., Lin, W., Schnitzler, H.-U., Denzinger, A., Xu, C.-H. and Feng, A.S.   Voices of the dead: Complex nonlinear vocal signals from the larynx of an ultrasonic frog, J. Exp. Biol, 2006; 209: 4984-4993.
Sun, J.W.C. and Narins, P.M.   Anthropogenic sounds differentially affect amphibian call rate, Biological Conservation , 2005; 121: 419-427.
Narins, P.M., Grabul, D.D., Soma, K., Gaucher, P. and Hoedl, W.   Cross-modality integration in a Dart-poison frog, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. , 2005; 102: 2425-2429.
Meenderink, SW Narins, PM van Dijk, P   Detailed f1, f2 area study of distortion product otoacoustic emissions in the frog Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO. , 2005; 6(1): 37-47.
Vassilakis, PN Meenderink, SW Narins, PM   Distortion product otoacoustic emissions provide clues hearing mechanisms in the frog ear The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. , 2004; 116(6): 3713-26.
Klump, G., Benedix, J.H., Jr., Gerhardt, H.C. and Narins, P.M.   Neural correlates of behavioral responses to amplitude modulated calls in the green treefrog, Hyla cinerea, J. Comp. Physiol. , 2004; 190: 1011-1021.
Hoedl, W., Narins, P.M. and Amezquita, A.   The role of call frequency and the auditory papillae in phonotactic behavior in male Dart-poison frogs Epipedobates femoralis (Dendrobatidae), J. Comp. Physiol. , 2004; 190: 823-829.
Narins, P.M., Hodl, W., Grabul, D.S.   Bimodal signal requisite for agonistic behavior in a dart-poison frog, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. , 2003; 100: 577-580.
Mason, MJ Lin, CC Narins, PM   Sex differences in the middle ear of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Brain, behavior and evolution. , 2003; 61(2): 91-101.
Mason, MJ Narins, PM   Vibrometric studies of the middle ear of the bullfrog Rana catesbeiana I. The extrastapes The Journal of experimental biology. , 2002; 205(Pt 20): 3153-65.
Mason, MJ Narins, PM   Vibrometric studies of the middle ear of the bullfrog Rana catesbeiana II. The operculum The Journal of experimental biology. , 2002; 205(Pt 20): 3167-76.
Christensen-Dalsgaard, J., Ludwig, T., Narins, P.M.   Call diversity in an Old World treefrog: Level dependence and latency of acoustic responses, Bioacoustics, 2002; 13: 21-35.
Mason, MJ Narins, PM   Seismic sensitivity in the desert golden mole (Eremitalpa granti): a review Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) , 2002; 116(2): 158-63.
Lewis, E.R., Narins, P.M., Cortopassi, K., Yamada, W., Moore, S.   Do white-lipped frogs use seismic signals for intraspecific communication?, Am. Zool, 2001; 41: 1185-1199.
Narins, P.M.   Ectothermy's last stand: Hearing in the heat and cold, Anuran Communication, 2001; 61-70.
Narins, P.M., Lewis, E.R., Purgue, A.P., Bishop, P.J., Minter, L.R. and Lawson, D.P.   Functional consequences of a novel middle ear adaptation in the West African Petropedetes parkeri (Ranidae), J. Exp. Biol, 2001; 204: 1223-1232.
Mason, M., Narins, P.M.   Seismic signal use by fossorial mammals, Am. Zool, 2001; 41: 1171-1184.
Garcia, E.J. and Narins, P.M.   Shared acoustic resources in an Old World frog community, Herpetologica, 2001; 57: 104-116.
Narins, P.M.   Vibration communication in vertebrates, Ecology of Sensing, 2001; 127-148.
Narins, PM   Acoustics. In a fly's ear Nature. , 2001; 410(6829): 644-5.
Smotherman, MS Narins, PM   Hair cells, hearing and hopping: a field guide to hair cell physiology in the frog The Journal of experimental biology. , 2000; 203(Pt 15): 2237-46.
Narins, P.M., Lewis, E.R. and McClelland, B.E.   Hyperextended call repertoire of the endemic Madagascar treefrog, Boophis madagascariensis (Rhacophoridae), J. Zool., Lond, 2000; 250: 283-298.
Purgue, A.P. and Narins, P.M.   Mechanical basis for the frequency selectivity in the ear of the bullfrog (Rana cetesbeiana), Recent Developments in Auditory Mechanics, 2000; 513-519.
Purgue, AP Narins, PM   A model for energy flow in the inner ear of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Journal of comparative physiology. A, Sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology. , 2000; 186(5): 489-95.
Purgue, AP Narins, PM   Mechanics of the inner ear of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana): the contact membranes and the periotic canal Journal of comparative physiology. A, Sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology. , 2000; 186(5): 481-8.
Smotherman, MS Narins, PM   The electrical properties of auditory hair cells in the frog amphibian papilla The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. , 1999; 19(13): 5275-92.
Lewis, E.R. and Narins, P.M.   The Acoustic Periphery of Amphibians: Anatomy and Physiology, Comparative Hearing: Fish and Amphibians, 1999; 101-154.
Smotherman, MS Narins, PM   Potassium currents in auditory hair cells of the frog basilar papilla Hearing research. , 1999; 132(1-2): 117-30.
Narins, P. M., Feng, A.S., Yong, H-S. and Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.   Morphological, behavioral and genetic divergence of sympatric morphotypes of the treefrog, Polypedates leucomystax in Peninsular Malaysia, Herpetologica, 1998; 54: 129-142.
Smotherman, M.S. and Narins, P.M.   Variations in the electrical properties of hair cells in the frog auditory system, Psychophysical and Physiological Advances in Hearing, 1998; 105-111.
Smotherman, MS Narins, PM   Effect of temperature on electrical resonance in leopard frog saccular hair cells Journal of neurophysiology. , 1998; 79(1): 312-21.
Narins, P.M., Benedix, J.H. Jr. and Moss, F.   Can increasing temperature improve information transfer in the anuran peripheral auditory system?, Aud. Neurosci, 1997; 3: 389-400.
Lewis, E.R., Lyon, R., Long, G.R. and Narins, P.M.   Diversity in Auditory Mechanics, , 1997; .
Narins, P.M., Benedix, J.H., Jr. and Moss, F.   Does stochastic resonance play a role in hearing?, Diversity in Auditory Mechanics, 1997; 83-90.
Narins, P.M.   Frog vibrational communication: Lessons from the rain forest, Echos, 1997; 7: 1-5.
Narins, PM Lewis, ER Jarvis, JJ O'Riain, J   The use of seismic signals by fossorial southern African mammals: a neuroethological gold mine Brain research bulletin. , 1997; 44(5): 641-6.
Wang, J., Ludwig, T. and Narins P.M.   Direction sensitivity of the auditory periphery in the northern leopard frog, J. Comp. Physiol, 1996; 178: 159-172.
Narins, P.M. and Lewis, E.R.   Extended call repertoire of a Madagascar frog, Biogeographie de Madagascar , 1996; 403-410.
Narins, P.M.   Frog Communication, Scientific American, 1995; 273: 78-83.

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