Gail L. Patricelli

Gail and Greater Sage-grouse

Position Title
Professor; Animal Behavior Graduate Group Chair

Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences
Center for Population Biology


Research Interests

Behavioral ecology, bioacoustics and conservation in birds, with a focus on understanding the diversity and complexity in animals signals. Current projects address breeding behaviors, sexual selection, acoustic communication, and the effects of noise pollution on sage-grouse and other wildlife. Learn more about research in the Patricelli Lab here: 

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Animal Behavior Graduate Group (ABGG)
  • Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE)
  • Population Biology Graduate Group (PBGG)

Specialties / Focus

  • Behavior and Conservation
  • Behavior Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Behavior, Physiology and Morphology
  • Communication
  • Evolutionary Ecology and Life History Strategies


  • EVE 107 Animal Communication
  • EVE013 Sex in the Natural World
  • BIS 2B Introductory Biology

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 Quest Award for outstanding seminal contribution to the field of animal behavior, Animal Behavior Society
  • 2018 Elected Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society
  • 2017 Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award
  • 2016 UC Davis College of Biological Sciences Faculty Teaching Award
  • 2016 Elected Member of the American Ornithologists’ Union
  • 2015 UC Davis ADVANCE Scholar Award for outstanding research activity and mentorship
  • 2014-2019 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow
  • 2012 UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship of Undergraduate Research
  • 2010 Outstanding New Investigator Award, Animal Behavior Society
  • 2002 NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Informatics, Cornell University
  • 2002 Warder Clyde Allee award, Animal Behavior Society

    Professional Societies

    • Animal Behavior Society
    • International Society for Behavioral Ecology
    • Society for the Study of Evolution
    • Ecological Society of America


    • 1993 BA Biology & Studio Art, Whitman College
    • 2001 MS Biology, University of Maryland, College Park
    • 2002 PhD Biology, University of Maryland, College Park

    Selected Publications (see complete list here)

    (* indicates UC Davis undergraduate co-author)

    Patricelli, Gail L., J. Albert C. Uy, Gregory Walsh & Gerald Borgia. 2002. Sexual selection: Male displays adjusted to female's response. Nature. 415: 279-280.

    Coleman, Seth W., Gail L. Patricelli & Gerald Borgia. 2004. Variable Female Preferences Drive Complex Male Displays. Nature. 428: 742-745.

    Patricelli, Gail L. and Jessica L. Blickley. 2006. Overview: Avian communication in urban noise: the causes and consequences of vocal adjustment. The Auk. 123: 639-649.

    Patricelli, Gail L., Marc S. Dantzker and Jack W. Bradbury. 2007. Differences in acoustic directionality among vocalizations of the male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius pheoniceus) are related to function in communication. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 61: 1099-1110.

    Krakauer, Alan H., Maura Tyrell*, Kenna Lehmann*, Neil Losin, Franz Goller and Gail L. Patricelli. 2009. Vocal and anatomical evidence for a two-voiced syrinx in the greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus. Journal of Experimental Biology. 212: 3719-3727

    Yorzinski, J. and G. L. Patricelli. 2010, Birds adjust acoustic directionality to beam their antipredator calls to predators and conspecifics. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Ser. B. 277: 923-932

    Patricelli, Gail L. and Alan H. Krakauer. 2010. Tactical allocation of display effort reduces trade-offs among multiple sexual signals in greater sage-grouse: an experiment with a robotic female. Behavioral Ecology, 21: 97-106

    Patricelli, Gail L., Alan H. Krakauer and Richard McElreath. 2011. Assets and tactics in a mating market: economic models of negotiation offer insights into animal courtship dynamics. Current Zoology 57: 225-236

    Iglesias, Teresa L., Richard McElreath and Gail L. Patricelli. 2012. Western scrub jay funerals: cacophonous aggregations in response to dead conspecifics. Animal Behaviour. 84: 1103–1111

    Blickley, Jessica L., Karen S. Word, Alan H. Krakauer, Jennifer L. Phillips, Sarah N. Sells*, John C. Wingfield, Gail L. Patricelli. 2012. Experimental chronic noise exposure is related to elevated fecal corticosteroid metabolites in lekking male greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). PLoS ONE. 7 (11): e50462. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050462

    Blickley, Jessica L., Diane Blackwood and Gail L. Patricelli. 2012. Experimental evidence for the effects of chronic anthropogenic noise on abundance of Greater Sage-Grouse at leks. Conservation Biology. 26: 461–471

    Yorzinski, Jessica L., Gail L. Patricelli, Jason S. Babcock and Michael L. Platt. 2013. Through their eyes: selective attention in peahens during courtship. Journal of Experimental Biology. 216: 3035-3046.

    Patricelli, Gail L., Jessica L. Blickley and Stacie L. Hooper. 2013. Recommended management strategies to limit anthropogenic noise impacts on greater sage-grouse in Wyoming. Journal of Human-Wildlife Interactions. 7(2): 230–249

    Taff, Conor C., Patricelli, G. L., & Freeman-Gallant, C. R.  2014. Fluctuations in neighbourhood fertility generate variable signalling effort. Proceedings Royal Society of London, Ser. B.  281: 20141974

    Krakauer, Alan H., Melissa A. Blundell, Tawny N. Scanlan*, Michelle S. Wechsler*, Emily A. McCloskey*, Jennifer H. Yu*, Gail L. Patricelli. 2016. Successful male sage-grouse show greater laterality in courtship and aggressive interactions. Animal Behaviour 111: 261–267

    Patricelli, Gail L., A. H. Krakauer, C. C. Taff.  2016. Variable signals in a complex world: Shifting views of within-individual variability in sexual display traits. Advances in the Study of Behavior 48: 319-386

    Patricelli, Gail L. and Eileen A. Hebets. 2016. New Dimensions in Animal Communication: The case for complexity. Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences 12: 80-89

    Ríos-Chelén, Ambria N. McDonald, Ayala N. Berger*, Anna C. Perry, Alan H. Krakauer, and Gail L. Patricelli. 2017. Do birds vocalize at higher pitch in noise, or is it a matter of measurement?  Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 71: 29. doi:10.1007/s00265-016-2243-7

    Forbey, Jennifer S., G. L. Patricelli, D. M. Delparte, A. H. Krakauer, P. J. Olsoy, M. R. Fremgen, J. D. Nobler, L. P. Spaete, L. A. Shipley, J. L. Rachlow, A. K. Dirksen, A.* Perry, B.A. Richardson, N.F. Glenn. 2017. Wildlife Biology. Emerging Technology to Measure Habitat Quality and Behavior of Grouse. Wildlife Biology: wlb.00238.  doi: 10.2981/wlb.00238

    Injaian, Allison S., Conor C. Taff, Kira L. Pearson*, Michelle M.Y. Gin*, Gail L. Patricelli, Maren N. Vitousek.  2018. Effects of experimental chronic traffic noise exposure on adult and nestling corticosterone levels, and nestling body condition in a free-living bird, Hormones and Behavior. 106: 19-27.

    Injaian, Allison S., Lauren Y. Poon*, Gail L. Patricelli. 2018. Effects of experimental anthropogenic noise on avian settlement patterns and reproductive success, Behavioral Ecology,

    Anna C. Perry, Alan H. Krakauer, Richard McElreath, David J. Harris, and Gail L. Patricelli. 2019. Hidden Markov Models Reveal Tactical Adjustment of Temporally Clustered Courtship Displays in Response to the Behaviors of a Robotic Female. The American Naturalist 194: 1-16.