[MARMAM] New paper on bearded seal vocal communication

Isabelle Charrier isabelle.charrier at u-psud.fr
Mon Sep 9 06:30:55 PDT 2013

Dear colleagues,

We are glad to announce a new publication on the perception of 
geographical vocal variations in bearded seals.

Charrier I, Mathevon N and Aubin T (2013) Bearded seal males perceive 
geographic variation in their trills. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology.

Geographic variation in animal vocalisations, ranging from micro- to 
macro-variations, has now been widely documented. These dialects can 
impair communication between separated groups or populations and thus 
may play a role in speciation processes. Although the existence of 
geographical variation has been already shown in some pinnipeds species, 
the extent to which individuals perceive it is poorly understood. Here, 
we studied this question in the bearded seal Erignatus barbatus, a 
species found across different arctic regions. As in other phocids, 
bearded seal males emit sophisticated acoustic displays while defending 
an aquatic territory during the breeding season. First, we used 
playbacks to demonstrate that the trill has a function in territorial 
defence. Second, we used synthetic trills from two distinct populations 
(Nunavut and Greenland), to show that bearded seal males perceived the 
geographic variation in the trills. Males from Greenland responded more 
strongly to trills from local males than those from a distant area 
(Nunavut). This study provides the first experimental evidence that 
phocid males can perceive geographic variation in their vocalisations. 
Acoustic analyses combined with playback experiments can help to 
identify distinct populations in bearded seals. This may then provide 
information on both strength and scale of breeding site fidelity in this 
and potentially other species.

Best regards,

Isabelle Charrier

Equipe Communications Acoustiques, CNPS-CNRS UMR 8195
Université Paris Sud, Bat.446, 91405 Orsay, FRANCE
Tel:(33-1).		Fax:(33-1).
Email: isabelle.charrier at u-psud.fr

new Isabelle's website: http://www.cb.u-psud.fr/pinniped/
Bioacoustics Team website: http://www.cb.u-psud.fr/

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