Dr. Kendra Sewall

Biological Sciences

Kendra Sewall is an assistant professor of biological sciences specializing in animal behavior and neuroethology. Research in the Sewall lab seeks to understand how neural and behavioral processes — and the environmental and developmental factors that impact those processes — contribute to animal survival and reproductive success. This work pertains to understanding the proximate basis of adaptive and dysfunctional behavior, and is also relevant to understanding the evolution of the brain and behavior.

Dr. Sewall teaches courses in neuroscience through the College of Science, as well as a course in Animal Cognition. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2013, she was an NRSA postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Behavior and Behavioral Neuroscience at Duke University.

Current research projects in the Sewall lab address the impacts of early ecological and social conditions on brain development and adaptive behavior using songbirds as a model system. Additionally, a long-term project focuses on the impacts of human habitat disturbance on the behavior and underlying brain mechanisms of wild populations of song sparrows.

Email address          Lab Website


Recent Relevant Publications

Sewall KB, (in press) Social Complexity as a diver of communication and cognition, Integrative and Comparative Biology

Wada H, Sewall KB, (2014) Introduction to the symposium—Uniting evolutionary and physiological approaches to understanding phenotypic plasticity. Integrative and Comparative Biology. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icu097

Sewall KB, Soha J, Peters S, Nowicki S. (2013) Potential trade-off between vocal ornamentation and spatial ability in a songbird. Biology Letters. 9: 20130344

Sewall KB, Caro SP, Sockman KW. (2013) Song Competition Affects Monoamine Levels in Sensory and Motor Forebrain Regions of Male Lincoln’s Sparrows (Melospiza lincolnii). PLoS ONE. 8(3): e59857. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059857

Sewall KB. (2012) Vocal matching in animals. American Scientist. 100:306-315. DOI: 10.1511/2012.97.306

Sewall KB. (2011) Early social learning of discrete call variants in red crossbills: implications for reliable signaling. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 65:157-166. DOI: 10.s1007/s00265-010-1022

Sewall KB, Dankoski EC, Sockman KW. (2010) Song environment affects singing effort and vasotocin immunoreactivity in the forebrain of male Lincoln’s sparrows. Hormones and Behavior. 58:544-553. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.04.002

Hahn TP, Corneluis JM, Sewall KB, Kelsey TR, and Hau M. (2008) Environmental regulation of annual schedules in opportunistically-breeding songbirds: Adaptive specializations or variation on a theme of white-crowned sparrow? General and Comparative Endocrinology 157: 217-226. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2008.05.007

For a complete list of published work, please see Dr. Sewall’s website.