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DEPE | Séminaires BEEPSS / BEEPSS Seminars » Singing in the city park – studying courtship displays, mating decisions, (...)

Singing in the city park – studying courtship displays, mating decisions, and life histories of common nightingales

Last update: : Tuesday 23 August 2016, by Nicolas Busser

Par : Silke Kipper, TU München, Germany
Date : Jeudi 3 novembre 2016 à 13h
Lieu : IPHC, Amphithéâtre Grünewald, bâtiment 25

The complex song of the common nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) can be considered a vocal peacock tail. In order to understand the evolution, function, and mechanisms of such elaborate courtship signals it is mandatory to study three domains: the signal inventory itself, traits that the signals are reliably indicating, and the biological relevance of this relation to receivers. We collected a long-term data set to study these domains in the song, mating decisions, and breeding biology of nightingales, following individuals across breeding seasons and years. We were able to relate specific song characteristics to individual traits such as age, body condition, or parental effort. We studied how Melatonin might potentially regulate nocturnal song activity and how song might serve as a prezygotic barrier in a hybridizing zone of twin species. Finally, I will provide examples on how the long-term documentation of life histories of individuals in their natural surroundings yielded in results of importance far beyond the study of communication and mating systems.

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