[MARMAM] New publication: parameterizing behaviour with tags to study acoustic communication

Marco Casoli mc286 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Mon Apr 18 13:47:55 PDT 2022

Dear all,

my co-authors and I are pleased to share our new publication in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology:

Casoli M, Johnson M, McHugh KA, Wells RS, Tyack PL (2022) Parameterizing animal sounds and motion with animal-attached tags to study acoustic communication. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 76: 59​

Abstract: Stemming from the traditional use of field observers to score states and events, the study of animal behaviour often relies on analyses of discrete behavioural categories. Many studies of acoustic communication record sequences of animal sounds, classify vocalizations, and then examine how call categories are used relative to behavioural states and events. However, acoustic parameters can also convey information independent of call type, offering complementary study approaches to call classifications. Animal-attached tags can continuously sample high-resolution behavioural data on sounds and movements, which enables testing how acoustic parameters of signals relate to parameters of animal motion. Here, we present this approach through case studies on wild common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Using data from sound-and-movement recording tags deployed in Sarasota (FL), we parameterized dolphin vocalizations and motion to investigate how senders and receivers modified movement parameters (including vectorial dynamic body acceleration, “VeDBA”, a proxy for activity intensity) as a function of signal parameters. We show that (1) VeDBA of one female during consortships had a negative relationship with centroid frequency of male calls, matching predictions about agonistic interactions based on motivation-structural rules; (2) VeDBA of four males had a positive relationship with modulation rate of their pulsed vocalizations, confirming predictions that click-repetition rate of these calls increases with agonism intensity. Tags offer opportunities to study animal behaviour through analyses of continuously sampled quantitative parameters, which can complement traditional methods and facilitate research replication. Our case studies illustrate the value of this approach to investigate communicative roles of acoustic parameter changes.

The paper is Open Access and can be found here:

For any further information, please get in touch with me at
mc286 at st-andrews.ac.uk

Kind regards,

Marco Casoli

Sea Mammal Research Unit
Scottish Oceans Institute
University of St Andrews
St Andrews KY16 8LB, Fife, UK

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