University of Wisconsin–Madison

Catherine Marler


(608) 262-5598

526 Psychology

Research Area(s)
Biology of Brain and Behavior

Lab Website
Marler Lab

Research Interest
My research centers around bi-directional interactions between endocrinology and animal behavior combined with the modifying influence of the surrounding social and physical environment. Currently, we are asking questions related to how past winning experience influences both future ability to win and androgen receptors in reward-related brain areas, how the reinforcing/rewarding effects of testosterone can alter the location where a male chooses to spend more time and which brain areas may be involved, how oxytocin shapes both classical affiliative behaviors (parental behavior and bonding) and division of labor, and how ultrasonic vocalizations are modified through hormone manipulations and social context. The primary focus is on the California mouse, Peromyscus californicus, because it is a monogamous, biparental, and territorial species that can be studied in both the laboratory and field.

Representative Publications
Rieger, N.S. & Marler, C.A. (2018). Comparisons of male and female ultrasonic vocalizations during aggressive interactions in a monogamous species. Animal Behaviour, 135: 97-108.

Fuxjager, M.J., Zhao, X., Rieger, N.R., & Marler C.A. (2017). Why animals fight: Uncovering the function and mechanisms of territorial aggression. In: APA Handbook of Comparative Psychology, pp. 853-875. (Invited Book Chapter).

Pultorak, J.D., Matusinec, K., Miller, Z.K., & Marler, C.A. (2017). Ultrasonic vocalization production and playback predicts intra-pair and extra-pair social behavior in a monogamous mouse. Animal Behaviour, 125: 15-23.

Zhao, X. & Marler, C.A. (2014). Pair bonding prevents reinforcing effects of testosterone in male California mice in an unfamiliar environment. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 281: 20140985.

Gleason, E.D. & Marler, C.A. (2013). Non-genomic transmission of paternal behaviour between fathers and sons in the monogamous and biparental California mouse. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 280: 20130824.

Becker E.A., Moore B.M., Auger C., & Marler C.A. (2010). Paternal behavior increases testosterone levels in offspring of the California mouse. Hormones and Behavior, 58: 385-389.

Fuxjager, M.J. & Marler, C.A. (2010). How and why the winner effect forms: Influences of contest environment and species differences. Behavioral Ecology, 21: 237-45.

Fuxjager, M.J., Mast, G., Becker, E.A., & Marler, C.A. (2009). The home advantage is necessary for a full winner effect and changes in post-encounter testosterone. Hormones and Behavior, 56: 214-219.

Gleason, E.D., Fuxjager, M.J., Oyegbile, T.O., & Marler, C.A. (2009). Testosterone release and social context: When it occurs and why. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 30: 460-469.