Why Voles?

Vole Hanging out before Implants

Voles exhibit remarkable variation in social behavior, including species that are social or solitary, promiscuous or monogamous. There are voles that vocalize, that live aquatically, that shift their social behavior with season and day length. Their population fluctuations and mating systems have been studied for decades by behavioral and population ecologists, while their nervous systems are an increasingly popular foci for the study of social neuroscience. The number and diversity of researchers working on voles make them uniquely positioned for integrative studies of social behavior. Despite this popularity, there are a variety of obstacles that limit our ability to manipulate gene function and understand its consequences for social behavior in the lab and field.