FAU Broward Campuses - Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Rindy Anderson

Saturday, May 01, 2021
Dr. Rindy Anderson

Assistant Professor | FAU’s Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Rindy Anderson is an Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, who has been teaching at FAU since 2014. She is best known for her research in vocal communication and territorial behavior in the Bachman's Sparrow, studying mating signals like plumage and song, and the relationships among the gut, the brain, and behavior in Northern Cardinals at Tree Tops Park in Davie, Florida. "In the lab on the Davie campus, we are studying the development of behavior including the effects of urban noise exposure on cognitive development and the gut microbiome of the Zebra Finch," Dr. Anderson said.

Dr. Anderson’s made a break-through with her work with sparrows in discovering that low amplitude "whisper song" is the most reliable signal of aggressive motivation in Bachman's Sparrow. "This is a fascinating behavior that has opened up many new questions and lines of research. We also discovered that the composition of the gut microbiome of captive finches predicted the performance of the birds on a series of cognitive tests. This work led by Ph.D student Morgan Slevin provided some of the first evidence of a gut-brain axis in a songbird," Dr. Anderson said.

Dr. Anderson’s research is broken down into three categories: Songbird Behavioral Ecology; Avian Cognition, and Bioacoustics Research. She became interested in animal behavior during her undergraduate years at Arizona State University. After 21 years living in in Arizona, she migrated to San Diego to complete a M.S. in marine science at the University of San Diego. Dr. Anderson worked for several years at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute with Dr. Ann Bowles and Dr. Pamela Yochem studying conservation and bioacoustics. Her love of bird song and field ornithology came from working with Dr. Bill Searcy while earning her Ph.D. at the University of Miami, and during her postdoctoral position at Duke University working in the lab of Dr. Stephen Nowicki and Dr. Susan Peters.

Dr. Anderson’s songbird research findings are regularly published in various academic journals. Dr. Anderson also lectures and teaches seminars about songbird communication at institutions around the nation. Her website, the Anderson Lab, provides updates to the research she and her research students conduct.

Among her favorite memories of teaching at FAU thus far has been guiding an undergraduate student named Sabah Ali. "He did research with me in the lab and the field for over two years. We published his Honors Thesis in a top ornithology journal and he was named the 2017 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year for the College of Science. Our work together, and the accomplishments we made along the way, are extremely important to me as a research mentor," Dr. Anderson said.