Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bird song changes sound alarm over habitat fragmentation

30.11.2005


Changes in bird song could be used as an early warning system to detect man-made ecological disturbances, new research published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology has found. Although much previous research has focused on bird song and vocal mimicry, this is the first study to analyse the role played by habitat loss and fragmentation on song-matching.

Ecologists recorded and analysed the songs of more than 200 Dupont’s larks, Chersophilus duponti, in Spain and Morocco and found that in fragmented habitats, song-sharing among neighbours was enhanced whereas song-sharing among non-neighbours declined. Having ruled out other explanations, such as the stage of the breeding season and competition intensity, the researchers say this change in song-sharing is due to lack of interaction between individuals isolated by habitat barriers.

According to the study’s authors, Dr Paola Laiolo and Dr José Tella of the Estación Biologica de Doñana in Seville, Spain: “We found that habitat loss in the steppe matrix markedly affected song-type sharing mechanisms in Dupont’s lark. The occurrence of anthropogenic habitat barriers seems to hinder cultural transmission of song types over distances, resulting in an intensification of the differences between non-neighbours and increasing mimicry between neighbours. This suggests that males from fragmented habitats perceived as rivals only the close neighbours with which they engaged in counter-singing.”



“Communication systems of habitat-sensitive species might be used as a behavioural indicator of anthropogenic environmental deterioration. Because of their rapidly evolving cultural nature, bird vocalisations might become an early warning system detecting the effects of fragmentation over relatively short times and before other indicators - such as genetic markers - show any change,” they say.

Sharing song types - when a male replies to a rival’s song with the same song sequence - with neighbours is common in birds, and is thought to act as a threat signal between males, which would explain why birds have evolved such complex song repertoires.

The Dupont’s lark is a rare and specialised steppe passerine, and its song unit is made up of up to 11 discrete sequences, each sequence being composed of up to 13 notes. The most common sequence is known as the ’whee-ur-wheeee’. To be considered as shared songs in this study, two sequences had to match at least 75% of their component notes and the matching portions had to be similar in note shape, timing and frequency.

Becky Allen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules
24.01.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
24.01.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>