Navigation Links
Bird songs change with environment
Date:5/20/2009

Just as a changing radio landscape has made it tough for Foghat to get much airplay these days, so it is for birdsongs according to new research published in The American Naturalist.

Behavioral ecologist Elizabeth Derryberry (Louisiana State University) has found that the songs of white-crowned sparrows change over time in response to changing habitats. The research sheds light on the factors that drive the evolution of mating signals in birds.

Derryberry says she first noticed that sparrows seem to be changing their tunes while working on her doctoral research. She ran across some old recordings of classic sparrow songs from 1970, and noted that the old tunes seemed a little different from the ones the kids are singing today.

To evaluate how much the songs have changedand what might be driving the changeDerryberry made new recordings in the same locations as the old ones. She then used aerial photographs to evaluate how vegetation had changed in each place. Using computer software to compare the songs then and now, she found that where vegetation had gotten thicker, the birdsongs had slowed down significantly in tempo.

"It's pretty good evidence that vegetation density can influence birdsong over time," Derryberry said.

Why would thicker vegetation cause slower songs?

Leaves create an echo. A slower tune, Derryberry says, is less apt to be garbled by reverberation.

"Young male sparrows learn to sing by listening to adult males nearby," she explains. "Juveniles likely learn and repeat the songs they hear most clearly." Since the slower songs come through loud and clear in leafy surroundings, those are the ones that are learned and passed on to the next generation. After a while, the slower songs dominate.

Derryberry's study is the first to show that rapid habitat shifts can cause changes in birdsongs. She now plans to extend her research to investigate how habitat changes associated with global warming might cause birds to sing a different tune.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Songs raise awareness about aquatic invasive species
2. Female birds jam their mates flirtatious songs
3. Practice as well as sleep may help birds learn new songs
4. Whale songs are heard for the first time around New York City waters
5. Stanford scientists find heat-tolerant coral reefs that may resist climate change
6. 100 reasons to change the way we think about genetics
7. Carbon measuring system to help mitigate climate change
8. WWF study says climate change could displace millions in Asias Coral Triangle
9. Climate change driving Michigan mammals north
10. Scientists aim to bring indigenous people into climate change monitoring and policy
11. River delta areas can provide clue to environmental changes, Texas A&M prof says
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/29/2016)... Nearly one billion matches per second with DERMALOG,s high-speed AFIS    ... ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint ... ... Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint Identification System is part of an efficient ...
(Date:11/21/2016)... VILNIUS, Lithuania , Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identification and object recognition technologies, today announced that ... for smart cards was submitted for the ... and successfully passed all the mandatory steps of ... III evaluation is a continuing test of fingerprint ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... , Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. ... therapeutics focused on the gut microbiome, today announced ... 25,000,000 shares of its common stock and warrants ... at a price to the public of $1.00 ... Synthetic Biologics from the offering, excluding the proceeds, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... FrontPanel SDK that provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced ... FrontPanel support. The FOMD-ACV-A4 is a small, thin, SODIMM-style module that fits a ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 ... ... the commercial launch of flexible packaging for their exceptionally efficient human mesenchymal ... system extends RoosterBio’s portfolio of bioprocess media products engineered to radically streamline ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Fla. , Dec. 8, 2016  HedgePath ... company that discovers, develops and plans to commercialize ... its shares of common stock were approved for ... will begin trading on the OTCQX, effective today, ... qualify for the OTCQX market, companies must meet ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... its phase I/II dose escalation and expansion clinical trial for its lead drug ... Austria. The purpose of the trial was to determine the safety, antitumor activity, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: