About the Lab

Our research focuses broadly on the integrative biology of biparental care. We use the monogamous California mouse (Peromyscus californicus), a species in which, unlike the vast majority of mammals, both parents invest extensively in raising their offspring. (They’re cute, too!)

One major theme of our work is the effects of parenthood on parents’ morphology, physiology, and behavior. For example, how does being a mother or father affect a parent’s body fat reserves, organ sizes, energetics, metabolism, stress physiology, neural activity, and affective behavior? Are these effects influenced by the absence of the mate, litter size, parity, or environmental stressors?

A second major theme is proximate determinants of parental care. How are the onset and maintenance of maternal and paternal behavior influenced by the parents’ age, prior experience with pups, stress, sensory cues, specific neurotransmitters/hormones, and certain brain regions?

Our work has been funded by NIH and NSF grants to Dr. Saltzman and her collaborators, and by intramural grants from UC Riverside.


Peromyscus images by Mark A. Chappell