Rex Cocroft started his academic career as a piano major, and after graduation decided to pursue a longstanding interest in the biology of amphibians and reptiles. He leveraged a childhood love of turtles into a research assistant position in the Smithsonian herpetology department, where he went on field trips to the forests of Peru and Venezuela. Those trips were meant to document the diversity of Amazonian frogs; and because differences in mating songs often reveal hidden diversity in otherwise similar species, recording those songs became an obsession. Rex then went to graduate school, fascinated by the evolutionary dance through which communication systems, the glue that unites members of a population, become a wedge that divides one population from another. Graduate school opened new doors, one of which led to the hidden world of vibrational communication in plant-dwelling insects—a world that contains the largest 'evolutionary library' of acoustic diversity on earth, and an auditory treasure trove of new sounds and soundscapes. He is now a professor of biology at the University of Missouri and still hopes to become a pretty good classical piano player (at least for a biologist).
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Part of Music, Language, Mind, Evolution, a series of free Monday/Wednesday evening lectures with eminent scholars from a variety of disciplines—music, music cognition, biology, and language — exploring the fundamentals of why and how we make and hear music. Part of the course Music 007 taught by Professor Larry Polansky.
The public is cordially invited.
Admission is free.
More information at (831) 459-4731.
Sponsored by the UCSC Arts Division, Arts Dean's Fund for Excellence, and US Bank.