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Vocal plasticity in phyllostomus discolor

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Lattenkamp,  Ella Zoe
Department Biology II, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, DEU;
Neurogenetics of Vocal Communication Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Kendrick,  Kobin H.
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Vernes,  Sonja C.
Neurogenetics of Vocal Communication Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Lattenkamp, E. Z., Kendrick, K. H., Vernes, S. C., & Wiegrebe, L. (2016). Vocal plasticity in phyllostomus discolor. Poster presented at the 46th annual symposium on bat research of the North American Society for Bat Research (NASBR), San Antonio, TX, USA.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-A385-2
Abstract
Bats have a sophisticated audio-vocal system that allows them t o orientate in the dark, acoustically discriminate prey and surface structures, and identify conspeci fics. To date, research into this area has largely focused on bat echoloca tion. However, their highly soci al nature and complex communication calls make them a well-suited animal model for studying vocal communi cation: several bat species have been found to have extensive call repertoires and to exhibit a rich palette of acoustic social interactions. Sophisticated song and syllable formation, the ability for voca l learning, and complex social interactions such as turn-taking (antiphonal vocalizations) have all been ob served. Given the importance of vocal learning in humans for spoken language and turn-taking for ling uistic interactions, we are investigating these abilities in the lesser spear-nosed bat Phyllostomus discolor. To assess turn-taking behavior we are evaluating vocal interactions between groups of animals in audi o/video recordings. To verify vocal learning, and specifically production learning, we have develop ed a multistage training plan, in which adult San Antonio, Texas 44 | P a g e bats will be trained via an ultrasonic intercom to adjust their calls according to electronically transmitted calls of conspecifics. Adult bats will be trained with food rew ard to adjust the spectral and/or temporal parameters of their calls to match playbacks of modified conspe cific calls (assessed via spectro-temporal analyses before and after the training period). These studies w ill demonstrate fundamental aspects of vocal communicative behaviour in Phyllostomus discolor , including behaviors that may ultimately be relevant for our understanding of the evol ution of spoken language in hu mans.