Typical versions of learned swamp sparrow song types are more effective signals than are less typical versions

R. F. Lachlan, R. C. Anderson, S. Peters, William Searcy, S. Nowicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The learned songs of songbirds often cluster into population-wide types. Here, we test the hypothesis that male and female receivers respond differently to songs depending on how typical of those types they are. We used computational methods to cluster a large sample of swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) songs into types and to estimate the degree to which individual song exemplars are typical of these types. We then played exemplars to male and female receivers. Territorial males responded more aggressively and captive females performed more sexual displays in response to songs that are highly typical than to songs that are less typical. Previous studies have demonstrated that songbirds distinguish song types that are typical for their species, or for their population, from those that are not. Our results show that swamp sparrows also discriminate typical from less typical exemplars within learned song-type categories. In addition, our results suggest that more typical versions of song types function better, at least in male-female communication. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that syllable type typicality serves as a proxy for the assessment of song learning accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society
Volume281
Issue number1785
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2014

Fingerprint

Sparrows
Wetlands
Music
song
Computational methods
swamp
animal communication
Display devices
Communication
Songbirds
songbird
songbirds
Melospiza georgiana
Proxy
communication (human)
Population
learning
Learning
communication

Keywords

  • bird song
  • categories
  • communication
  • cultural transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Typical versions of learned swamp sparrow song types are more effective signals than are less typical versions. / Lachlan, R. F.; Anderson, R. C.; Peters, S.; Searcy, William; Nowicki, S.

In: Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, Vol. 281, No. 1785, 22.06.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1af593276df44583841b0f2b76ba0876,
title = "Typical versions of learned swamp sparrow song types are more effective signals than are less typical versions",
abstract = "The learned songs of songbirds often cluster into population-wide types. Here, we test the hypothesis that male and female receivers respond differently to songs depending on how typical of those types they are. We used computational methods to cluster a large sample of swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) songs into types and to estimate the degree to which individual song exemplars are typical of these types. We then played exemplars to male and female receivers. Territorial males responded more aggressively and captive females performed more sexual displays in response to songs that are highly typical than to songs that are less typical. Previous studies have demonstrated that songbirds distinguish song types that are typical for their species, or for their population, from those that are not. Our results show that swamp sparrows also discriminate typical from less typical exemplars within learned song-type categories. In addition, our results suggest that more typical versions of song types function better, at least in male-female communication. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that syllable type typicality serves as a proxy for the assessment of song learning accuracy.",
keywords = "bird song, categories, communication, cultural transmission",
author = "Lachlan, {R. F.} and Anderson, {R. C.} and S. Peters and William Searcy and S. Nowicki",
year = "2014",
month = "6",
day = "22",
doi = "10.1098/rspb.2014.0252",
language = "English",
volume = "281",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences",
issn = "0800-4622",
publisher = "Royal Society of London",
number = "1785",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Typical versions of learned swamp sparrow song types are more effective signals than are less typical versions

AU - Lachlan, R. F.

AU - Anderson, R. C.

AU - Peters, S.

AU - Searcy, William

AU - Nowicki, S.

PY - 2014/6/22

Y1 - 2014/6/22

N2 - The learned songs of songbirds often cluster into population-wide types. Here, we test the hypothesis that male and female receivers respond differently to songs depending on how typical of those types they are. We used computational methods to cluster a large sample of swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) songs into types and to estimate the degree to which individual song exemplars are typical of these types. We then played exemplars to male and female receivers. Territorial males responded more aggressively and captive females performed more sexual displays in response to songs that are highly typical than to songs that are less typical. Previous studies have demonstrated that songbirds distinguish song types that are typical for their species, or for their population, from those that are not. Our results show that swamp sparrows also discriminate typical from less typical exemplars within learned song-type categories. In addition, our results suggest that more typical versions of song types function better, at least in male-female communication. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that syllable type typicality serves as a proxy for the assessment of song learning accuracy.

AB - The learned songs of songbirds often cluster into population-wide types. Here, we test the hypothesis that male and female receivers respond differently to songs depending on how typical of those types they are. We used computational methods to cluster a large sample of swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) songs into types and to estimate the degree to which individual song exemplars are typical of these types. We then played exemplars to male and female receivers. Territorial males responded more aggressively and captive females performed more sexual displays in response to songs that are highly typical than to songs that are less typical. Previous studies have demonstrated that songbirds distinguish song types that are typical for their species, or for their population, from those that are not. Our results show that swamp sparrows also discriminate typical from less typical exemplars within learned song-type categories. In addition, our results suggest that more typical versions of song types function better, at least in male-female communication. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that syllable type typicality serves as a proxy for the assessment of song learning accuracy.

KW - bird song

KW - categories

KW - communication

KW - cultural transmission

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84922328528&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84922328528&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2014.0252

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2014.0252

M3 - Article

C2 - 24807252

AN - SCOPUS:84902664440

VL - 281

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0800-4622

IS - 1785

ER -