You are here

Getting heard: communication strategies in Orthoptera

Submitted by edwbaker on Fri, 2019-03-29 20:37
Date: 
Thursday, March 28, 2019
Location: 

International Congress of Orthopterology, Agadir, Morocco

The songs of Orthoptera have been studied for many years as tools for the delimitation of species. The stereotypical calling songs of male Orthoptera are widely regarded as a major component of the acoustic diversity of ecosystems, from the daytime calls of Euro-pean grasshoppers to the nocturnal cacophony of tropical forests.

The evolutionary pressure on calling songs to uniquely identify species is a key factor that allows a number of projects to use automated methods to provide species identification and in some cases abundance measurements based on acoustic methods that are both cost effective and non-intrusive.

The Leverhulme funded Automated Acoustic Observatories project is an interdisciplinary project to investigate the evolution of Orthop-teran acoustic communication alongside novel methods for automated identification. The project combines knowledge from engineers, evolutionary biologists, insect ecologists and Orthoptera specialists.

One of the goals of this project is to identify what the total information content of the call-ing song of an Orthopteran can tell us, even if the species cannot be identified to species.

The calling song of a species is constrained by the evolutionary history and morphology of the species, but it can also be expected that the calling song has in part evolved for efficient transmission of information through the acoustic environment that the species inhabits.

This presentation investigates possible analo-gies between methods for reliable communi-cation through differing environments in the electronic engineering domains (e.g. spread spectrum radio techniques) and the variable features (e.g. amplitude, bandwidth) of Or-thopteran song, using acoustic traits that were originally collated for the purposes of auto-mated classification of unrecognised taxa.

All content by +Ed Baker