Faculty Bulletin Board

UCLA biologist wins national merit award for his research

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Peter Narins
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

Peter Narins

Peter Narins, UCLA distinguished professor of integrative biology and physiology, whose research formed the basis of an argument that minute changes in frog calls over time can be used for monitoring global warming has been selected as the 2019 Association for Research in Otolaryngology Award of Merit Winner.

In a landmark study, Narins, who is also a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and his students demonstrated that both the pitch and the timing of the calls of the Puerto Rican Coqui treefrog change in a similar fashion along an altitudinal gradient. In a set of field experiments spanning 23 years, Narins and his team demonstrated that the spectral and temporal parameters of the calls of the Puerto Rican Coqui have shifted in the amount and direction consistent with the observed temperature rise in Puerto Rico over that same period.

“He and his colleague Albert Feng were the leaders of an international team of scientists that made the extraordinary discovery that the concave-eared torrent frog, a species living in central China, amid the intense broadband noise generated by surrounding waterfalls, produces and hears ultrasound. This finding was truly astonishing. Narins and colleagues have identified other species of frogs in Asia that similarly communicate in the ultrasound range,” wrote Andrea Megela Simmons, a professor at Brown University, and Cynthia Moss, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, in a tribute on the Association for Research in Otolaryngology website

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