29nov1:00 pm2:00 pmRemember the titans: Exploring the function, ontogeny, and evolution of the male northern elephant seal vocal displayCaroline Casey 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Lecture Theatre D, Bute Building Speaker organisation: University of California Santa Cruz
Owing to extreme selection pressures for rival assessment, the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) provides an optimal social model to explore the role that learning plays in the communication system
Owing to extreme selection pressures for rival assessment, the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) provides an optimal social model to explore the role that learning plays in the communication system among breeding males. During the breeding season, males compete to establish dominance that control access to large groups of females. Vocal signaling plays an important role in mitigating costly fights between males, as the majority of interactions are typically resolved through the exchange of vocal signals. Through the use of recordings, behavioral observations, and playback experiments, our research group has evaluated the information encoded within these specialized calls, and how listeners assess and respond to the vocalizations of their most familiar competitors. Our results demonstrate that each adult male possesses a unique acoustic signature, and vocal variation among males supports individual recognition through the process of associative learning. We then how males develop the calls they produce over their lifetime, and explore the underlying social and demographic conditions that support a system based on individual recognition. This talk will provide a holistic approach to describing the vocal behavior of the male northern elephant seal, and insight into other marine mammals that use acoustic communication during important life-history events.
(Thursday) 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Lecture Theatre D, Bute Building
University of California Santa Cruz
Prof. Peter L. Tyackplt@st-andrews.ac.uk