Dr. Philipp Norton

phone: +49-(0)30-2093-98415
email: philipp.norton :AT: hu-berlin.de

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Fascinated by the intricacies of animal behaviours, I began my academic career by studying communication in honeybees, bats and songbirds. In my PhD with Constance Scharff I focused on the development and production of temporal rhythms in learned animal vocalizations, particularly in the songs of zebra finches. Throughout these studies I became increasingly interested in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these behaviours. This led me to my current project, in which I develop computational models to investigate how the representation of a learned song is formed and ultimately consolidated in the neural circuits of the songbird brain.


2015 – 2018
Ph.D. in Biology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
2007 – 2014
B.Sc. & M.Sc. In Biology (Focus: Neurobiology and Behaviour) at Universität Rostock and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany


Burchardt L S, Norton P, Behr O, Scharff C, Knörnschild M (2019): General isochronous rhythm in echolocation calls and social vocalizations of the bat Saccopteryx bilineata., Royal Society Open Science, 6(181076).

Ravignani A*, Norton P* (2017): Measuring rhythmic complexity: A primer to quantify and compare temporal structure in speech, movement, and animal vocalizations., Journal of Language Evolution, 2(1), 4–19.
*The authors contributed equally to this study

Norton P, Scharff C (2016): “Bird Song Metronomics“: Isochronous Organization of Zebra Finch Song Rhythm., Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10(309).

Ullrich R, Norton P, Scharff C (2016): Waltzing Taeniopygia: integration of courtship song and dance in the Australian zebra finch., Animal Behaviour, 112, 285–300.

Degen J, Kirbach A, Reiter L, Lehmann K, Norton P, Storms M, Koblofsky M, Winter S, Georgieva P B, Nguyen H, Chamkhi H, Meyer H, Singh P K, Manz G, Greggers U, Menzel R (2016): Honeybees Learn Landscape Features during Exploratory Orientation Flights., Current Biology, 26(20), 1–5.

Degen J, Kirbach A, Reiter L, Lehmann K, Norton P, Storms M, Koblofsky M, Winter S, Georgieva P B, Nguyen H, Chamkhi H, Greggers U, Menzel R (2015): Exploratory behaviour of honeybees during orientation flights., Animal Behaviour, 102, 45–57.

Menzel R, Kirbach A, Haass W D, Fischer B, Fuchs J, Koblofsky M, Lehmann K, Reiter L, Meyer H, Nguyen H, Jones S, Norton P, Greggers U (2011): A common frame of reference for learned and communicated vectors in honeybee navigation., Current Biology, 21(8), 645–650.