Flexible control of vocal timing in bats enables escape from acoustic interference

  • In natural environments, background noise can degrade the integrity of acoustic signals, posing a problem for animals that rely on their vocalizations for communication and navigation. A simple behavioral strategy to combat acoustic interference would be to restrict call emissions to periods of low-amplitude or no noise. Using audio playback and computational tools for the automated detection of over 2.5 million vocalizations from groups of freely vocalizing bats, we show that bats (Carollia perspicillata) can dynamically adapt the timing of their calls to avoid acoustic jamming in both predictably and unpredictably patterned noise. This study demonstrates that bats spontaneously seek out temporal windows of opportunity for vocalizing in acoustically crowded environments, providing a mechanism for efficient echolocation and communication in cluttered acoustic landscapes. One Sentence Summary: Bats avoid acoustic interference by rapidly adjusting the timing of vocalizations to the temporal pattern of varying noise.

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Author:Ava KiaiORCiD, Jan ClemensGND, Manfred KösslORCiD, David PoeppelORCiDGND, Julio C. Hechavarria-CueriaORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2023/05/09
Date of first Publication:2023/05/09
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/07/10
Issue:2023.05.09.539989, Version 1
Page Number:14
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International