Navigation Links
Cities change the songs of birds

By studying the songs of a bird species that has succeeded in adapting to urban life, researchers have gained insight into the kinds of environmental pressures that influence where particular songbirds thrive, and the specific attributes of city birds that allow them to adjust to noisy urban environments. The findings, reported by Hans Slabbekoorn and Ardie den Boer-Visser of Leiden University, appear in the December 5th issue of Current Biology.

In the new work, the researchers studied songs of the great tit (Parus major), a successful urban-dwelling species, in the center of ten major European cities, including London, Prague, Paris, and Amsterdam. The researchers then compared these songs to those of great tits in nearby forest sites. The results of the comparison showed that for songs important for mate attractions and territory defense, the urban songs were shorter and sung faster than the forest songs. The urban songs also showed an upshift in frequency that is consistent with the need to compete with low-frequency environmental noise, such as traffic noise.

Anthropogenic Impact on Signals Used by Wild Birds

Earlier work, from Dr. Slabbekoorn and another coauthor, had shown that songs of individual birds were adjusted to local traffic noise conditions. The researchers had shown that great tit males in territories with loud low-frequency noise used fewer low-frequency song notes compared to nearby individuals in quieter territories. That single-population study, in Leiden, The Netherlands, included only urban birds, but territory conditions ranged from very quiet to very noisy. The earlier study predicted the possibility that in general, great tits in noisy cities sing higher than great tits in quieter forests: In other words, songs undergo a habitat-dependent acoustic shift in cities that is driven by traffic noise.

With the new findings, Slabbekoorn and den Boer-Visser confirm this prediction and also identify seve ral additional acoustic features that have diverged between city and forest birds. The findings also offer strong support for a theory known as the acoustic-adaptation hypothesis, which states that some aspects of the vocal variety of animal communication sounds are shaped by the environment. The authors point out that song divergence within a species as a result of such “environmental shaping?could potentially play a crucial role in the process of speciation, although it is not at all clear whether urban and forest populations of great tits are on such a path.

Conservation Implications: Adjust or Leave

Speciation takes place over long, evolutionary time scales, but major shifts in a region’s bird population, including extinction, can take place here and now. Urbanization typically leads to a turnover in species composition such that those species occurring in the original habitat are replaced by those that cope well with urban conditions. Many species do not live in cities and do not breed close to highways, and indeed the birds of urbanized areas are highly similar: The same few species become common everywhere, while the area’s original species variety is lost. The new study, which focuses on an urban “survivor,?provides some insight into the mechanism behind the homogenizing impact of the urban environment. The capacity of great tits to sing within a relatively wide frequency range, and the ability to adjust songs by leaving out lower frequencies, seems critical to the bird’s ability to thrive despite urban noise. Species without these capacities may have no other choice than to escape city life.
'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. Elusive HIV shape change revealed; Key clue to how virus infects cells
2. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
3. Plants defy Mendels inheritance laws, may prompt textbook changes
4. Small species back-up giant marsupial climate change extinction claim
5. Africa to take it on chin again with climate change
6. Fox Chase study shows that weakened T-cell receptor signals change T-cell lineage
7. By creating molecular bridge, scientists change function of a protein
8. Logging changed ecological balance for monkeys, damaged health
9. York scientists warn of dramatic impact of climate change on Africa
10. Lands surface change on Alaska tundra creating longer, warmer summers in Arctic
11. New markers of climate change

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/29/2017)... the health IT company that operates the largest health ... today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross BlueShield ... investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create the ... activities through the collection and workflow integration of ambient ... secures data today on behalf of over 36 million ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access System ... over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Optimove , provider ... retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced ... and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these ... and replenishment recommendations to their customers based not ... of customer intent drawn from a complex web ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... A staple in the community ... that will incorporate important key elements including a new digital marketing strategy and updated ... supported them, Bill Miller has partnered with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... “There is an increasing ... alternatives to synthetic ingredients,” said Matt Hundt, President of Third Wave Bioactives. “Combining ... presence and know-how of Biorigin will allow us to bring truly novel fermented ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... , ... August 09, 2017 , ... ... classroom next week-- as students. From August 14th through the 16th, the University ... which debuted in the summer of 2016, provides Philadelphia-based middle school educators an ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... Each year in the ... recover well enough to live an independent lifestyle and, even worse, the one-year mortality ... discovery by doctors at the University of California Davis Medical Center (Sacramento) and Second ...
Breaking Biology Technology: