Modelling the effects of chorus species composition and caller density on acoustic masking interference in multispecies choruses of crickets and katydids

Balakrishnan, R and Bahuleyan, J and Nandi, D and Jain, M (2014) Modelling the effects of chorus species composition and caller density on acoustic masking interference in multispecies choruses of crickets and katydids. Ecological Informatics, 21. pp. 50-58.

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Abstract: Natural multispecies acoustic choruses such as the dusk chorus of a tropical rain forest consist of simultaneously signalling individuals of different species whose calls travel through a common shared medium before reaching their ‘intended’ receivers. This causes masking interference between signals and impedes signal detection, recognition and localization. The levels of acoustic overlap depend on a number of factors, including call structure, intensity, habitat-dependent signal attenuation and receiver tuning. In addition, acoustic overlaps should also depend on caller density and the species composition of choruses, including relative and absolute abundance of the different calling species. In this study, we used simulations to examine the effects of chorus species relative abundance and caller density on the levels of effective heterospecific acoustic overlap in multispecies choruses composed of the calls of five species of crickets and katydids that share the understorey of a rain forest in southern India. We found that on average species-even choruses resulted in higher levels of effective heterospecific acoustic overlap than choruses with strong dominance structures. This effect was found consistently across dominance levels ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 for larger choruses of forty individuals. For smaller choruses of twenty individuals, the effect was seen consistently for dominance levels of 0.6 and 0.8 but not 0.4. Effective acoustic overlap (EAO) increased with caller density but the manner and extent of increase depended both on the species' call structure and the acoustic context provided by the composition scenario. The Phaloria sp. experienced very low levels of EAO and was highly buffered to changes in acoustic context whereas other species experienced high EAO across contexts or were poorly buffered. These differences were not simply predictable from call structures. These simulation-based findings may have important implications for acoustic biodiversity monitoring and for the study of acoustic masking interference in natural environments.
Item Type: Journal Paper
Additional Information: Copyright belongs to Publisher
Keywords: Acoustic masking interference; Crickets; Katydids; Dusk chorus; Relative abundance
Subjects: School of Natural and Engineering Sciences > Animal Behaviour
Programmes > Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation
Divisions: Schools > Natural Sciences and Engineering
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2015 11:26
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 11:26
Official URL:
Related URLs:
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2013.11.006

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