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:1/12/2017)... , Jan. 12, 2017  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... DNA (ctDNA) technologies, today announced that it has signed ... and the Middle East ...  This milestone marks the first wave of international distribution ... urine and blood samples. The initial partners ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... Jan. 6, 2017  Privately-held CalciMedica, Inc., announced ... healthy volunteers of a novel calcium release-activated calcium ... pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis, sudden painful ... disorder, but can be very serious.  In severe cases ... where extended hospital stays, time in the ICU ...
(Date:1/3/2017)... Onitor, provider of digital health technology for ... innovative biometric data-driven program designed to aid weight loss ... 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las ... the World Health Organization (WHO), have identified lifestyle risks ... are overweight or obese. WHO also states that more ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/23/2017)... Jan. 23, 2017   Enteris BioPharma, Inc. , ... with Sanofi to leverage Enteris, proprietary and ... to develop an oral formulation of one of Sanofi,s ... , Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of Enteris ... of the tremendous value our Peptelligence platform program offers ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... Atlas Genetics Ltd., the ultra-rapid Point-Of-Care ... D financing, raising $35 million from a syndicate including all ... ... the Atlas Genetics io┬« system has been completed with the ... in February 2016.  This new Series D equity issue will ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... Jan. 23, 2017  Alkahest Inc. ("Alkahest"), a ... neurodegenerative diseases and other age-related conditions, announced today ... as Chief Medical Officer. In this role, Dr. ... activities at Alkahest and serve on the Executive ... served as Executive Director at Dynavax, where he ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... CallTower is proud ... TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award winner for 2017. , For three consecutive ... communications solutions. In 2016, CallTower was awarded with the hosted VoIP Excellence award and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: