Amy Strauss



BA Whitman College, Biology & Environmental Studies
PhD University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology (in progress)

Areas of Expertise

behavioral ecology, animal communication, bioacoustics, birdsong evolution, vocal learning


Amy Strauss received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Whitman College, and is now finishing her doctoral degree in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Her research focus is on the evolution of vocal communication in songbirds, a system with many parallels to human speech and language. In particular, she explores how ecological and social factors influence song function in birds by asking questions at the intersection of behavior and mechanism.

Prior to joining Towson University’s Department of Biological Sciences, Strauss taught at Brooklyn College in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and worked in the Vertebrate Zoology research collections at the American Museum of Natural History. At TU, she teaches General Zoology and Introduction to Ecology and Evolution.

Beyond teaching and research, Strauss prioritizes sharing her love of evolution, ecology, and the scientific process through mentorship, outreach, and science communication. She is dedicated to helping build a scientifically literate, scientifically engaged public, and an inclusive and accessible STEM community.


Podos, J., Moseley, D. L., Goodwin, S. E., McClure, J., Taft, B. N., Strauss, A. V. H., Rega-Brodsky, C., & Lahti, D.C. A Fine-Scale, Broadly-Applicable Index of Vocal Performance: Frequency Excursion. Animal Behaviour 116 (2016): 203-212.

Courses Taught

BIOL 207 General Zoology

BIOL 202 Introduction to Ecology and Evolution