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:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, ... the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... competition will focus on developing health and wellness apps ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon ... The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... NEW YORK , March 30, 2017 ... by type (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, ... recognition, voice recognition, and others), by end use industry ... travel and immigration, financial and banking, and others), and ... Europe , Asia Pacific ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... PUNE, India , March 28, 2017 ... (Analog, IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), ... Maintenance), Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 30.37 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach ... 15.4% between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/18/2017)... , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... Equipment for the Semiconductor, MEMS, and Microfluidics Industries, announces the new Model 800E ... found more often in automated production mask aligners. OAI has already received ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... Electrospinning and Electrospraying line of nanofiber and nanoparticle fabrication ... for the lab to fully automated pilot plants and equipment for industrial ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... MN (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... our third U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection at our Dilworth, MN ... No 483 was issued. This inspection was conducted as part of a routine ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Kapstone Medical ... years of successes helping medical technology companies and inventors develop and safeguard their latest ... full-service national engineering firm with a portfolio of clients in the United States and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: