Associate Professor of Animal Behavior
Her research interests are in the areas of animal social behavior and communication. She is particularly interested in multisensory signaling: how and why animals (including humans) combine signals from multiple sensory channels during communication.
She has studied these and related questions in observational studies of wild African elephants; rhesus macaques; squirrels and lizards; and in controlled laboratory studies of birds and dolphins.
Partan is currently creating mechanized animals that simulate animal displays to use in field playback experiments that combine the rigor of laboratory experiments with the natural setting of the field environment.
Worried about climate change and how we will live sustainably in the future? Join us to brainstorm and assess solutions together. This will be a course for first and second year students interested in learning how to evaluate potential solutions to current local and global environmental and social problems. The course will be co-taught by faculty across the curriculum at Hampshire and will include both large lectures and breakout working groups. The course will be divided into modules focused on specific problems and potential solutions, such as how the arts can help educate and engage the public in making positive changes for sustainable living; why humans are so resistant to changing our habits; whether excess greenhouse gases can be safely stored via carbon sequestration; and how we might ameliorate losses to biodiversity due to climate change. In addition to engagement in readings, lectures, discussion and activities, small teams of students will be expected to explore a problem in greater depth and present their ideas to the class at the end of the term.
The goal of this class is to build a long-term database of animal diversity on Hampshire property. The rationale for this goal is that our environment, both local and global, is dramatically changing, and it is of utmost importance to document biodiversity now before we lose species we may not have realized were here. Students in this exploratory class will work together to learn to identify and document our local fauna. We will spend a good deal of time exploring our woods to learn together about what is there. We will also examine how long-term databases are used by other research groups, explore citizen science research projects, and add our data to our own citizen science database project. Students with experience or interest in natural history, animal identification, and computer databases are particularly encouraged to join the class.
This is the first of a two-course sequence exploring the main theoretical ideas and methods of ethology, the scientific study of animal behavior. In this first semester we explore the functional and evolutionary bases of animal behavior and cognition, including altruism, social behavior, communication, and anti-predator behavior. Students will also learn and put into practice some of the ways that ethologists observe, record and measure behavior outdoors in the natural world. The main reading and discussion material for the course will be drawn from the first half of John Alcock's textbook, Animal Behavior, supplemented by journal articles from the professional scientific literature. Two summary/critique papers on the journal articles will be required, along with a report on a public lecture relevant to the themes of the course, and a full-length term paper on a species and research topic of the student's choosing. The final project will be presented to the whole class either orally or in a poster session. Subsequent enrollment in the second semester of the sequence is encouraged but not required.