Navigation Links
Bird song changes sound alarm over habitat fragmentation

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 - wit h 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.


Source:Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Related biology news :

1. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
2. Plants defy Mendels inheritance laws, may prompt textbook changes
3. Scientists find evidence of catastrophic sand avalanches, sea level changes in Gulf of Mexico
4. Customized gene chip provides rapid detection of genetic changes in childrens cancer
5. New amphibian species result from exploration, not from rule changes
6. Embryonic stem cells accrue genetic changes
7. New view of cancer: Epigenetic changes come before mutations
8. Meditation associated with structural changes in brain
9. Ocean dead zones trigger sex changes in fish, posing extinction threat
10. Genome changes tracked during multiple myeloma initiation, progression and treatment
11. Human behavior changes the number of strains of infectious diseases
Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... offering new biological discoveries to the medical community, has ... and co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We ... provide us with the capital we need to meet ... funding will essentially provide us the runway to complete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division ... tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing ... collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: