How male sound pressure level influences phonotaxis in virgin female Jamaican field crickets (Gryllus assimilis).
ABSTRACT: Understanding female mate preference is important for determining the strength and direction of sexual trait evolution. The sound pressure level (SPL) acoustic signalers use is often an important predictor of mating success because higher sound pressure levels are detectable at greater distances. If females are more attracted to signals produced at higher sound pressure levels, then the potential fitness impacts of signalling at higher sound pressure levels should be elevated beyond what would be expected from detection distance alone. Here we manipulated the sound pressure level of cricket mate attraction signals to determine how female phonotaxis was influenced. We examined female phonotaxis using two common experimental methods: spherical treadmills and open arenas. Both methods showed similar results, with females exhibiting greatest phonotaxis towards loud sound pressure levels relative to the standard signal (69 vs. 60 dB SPL) but showing reduced phonotaxis towards very loud sound pressure level signals relative to the standard (77 vs. 60 dB SPL). Reduced female phonotaxis towards supernormal stimuli may signify an acoustic startle response, an absence of other required sensory cues, or perceived increases in predation risk.
Project description:Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive brain imaging technique that measures changes in oxygenated and de-oxygenated hemoglobin concentration and can provide a measure of brain activity. In addition to neural activity, fNIRS signals contain components that can be used to extract physiological information such as cardiac measures. Previous studies have shown changes in cardiac activity in response to different sounds. This study investigated whether cardiac responses collected using fNIRS differ for different loudness of sounds. fNIRS data were collected from 28 normal hearing participants. Cardiac response measures evoked by broadband, amplitude-modulated sounds were extracted for four sound intensities ranging from near-threshold to comfortably loud levels (15, 40, 65 and 90 dB Sound Pressure Level (SPL)). Following onset of the noise stimulus, heart rate initially decreased for sounds of 15 and 40 dB SPL, reaching a significantly lower rate at 15 dB SPL. For sounds at 65 and 90 dB SPL, increases in heart rate were seen. To quantify the timing of significant changes, inter-beat intervals were assessed. For sounds at 40 dB SPL, an immediate significant change in the first two inter-beat intervals following sound onset was found. At other levels, the most significant change appeared later (beats 3 to 5 following sound onset). In conclusion, changes in heart rate were associated with the level of sound with a clear difference in response to near-threshold sounds compared to comfortably loud sounds. These findings may be used alone or in conjunction with other measures such as fNIRS brain activity for evaluation of hearing ability.
Project description:Echolocating big brown bats fly, orient, forage, and roost in cluttered acoustic environments in which aggregate sound pressure levels can be as intense as 100 to 140?dB SPL, levels that would impair auditory perception in other terrestrial mammals. We showed previously that bats exposed to intense wide-band sound (116?dB SPL) can navigate successfully through dense acoustic clutter. Here, we extend these results by quantifying performance of bats navigating through a cluttered scene after exposure to intense band-limited sounds (bandwidths 5-25?kHz, 123?dB SPL). Behavioral performance was not significantly affected by prior sound exposure, with the exception of one bat after exposure to one sound. Even in this outlying case, performance recovered rapidly, by 10?min post-exposure. Temporal patterning of biosonar emissions during successful flights showed that bats maintained their individual strategies for navigating through the cluttered scene before and after exposures. In unsuccessful flights, interpulse intervals were skewed towards shorter values, suggesting a shift in strategy for solving the task rather than a hearing impairment. Results confirm previous findings that big brown bats are not as susceptible to noise-induced perceptual impairments as are other terrestrial mammals exposed to sounds of similar intensity and bandwidth.
Project description:An important aspect of hearing and acoustic communication is the ability to discriminate differences in sound level. Little is known about level discrimination in anuran amphibians (frogs and toads), for which vocal communication in noisy social environments is often critical for reproduction. This study used two-choice phonotaxis tests to investigate the ability of females of Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) to discriminate between two advertisement calls differing only in sound pressure level by 2, 4, or 6 dB. Tests were conducted in the presence and absence of chorus-shaped noise (73 dB) and using two different ranges of signal levels (73-79 dB and 79-85 dB). Females discriminated between two signals differing by as little as 2-4 dB. In contrast to expectations based on the "near miss to Weber's law" in birds and mammals, level discrimination was slightly better at the lower range of signal amplitudes, a finding consistent with earlier studies of frogs and insects. Realistic levels of background noise simulating a breeding chorus had no discernable effect on discrimination at the sound level differences tested in this study. These results have important implications for studies of auditory masking and signaling behavior in the contexts of anuran hearing and sound communication.
Project description:The functions of female song found in a few cicadas have rarely been studied. In the cicada Subpsaltria yangi we investigated the acoustic behaviour and signal structure of songs produced by females, the phonotaxis of males, and mate choice, as well as the selective pressure imposed on this species by predators. Pair-formation in S. yangi occurs when males signal, females respond, then males move to signaling females, which is opposite to that in most other cicadas where females move to calling males. Females only mate once and are sexually unreceptive after copulation. Most males mate once, but ~25% mate multiply. Females display little direct evidence of mate preference or choice of males, and all mate encounters led to a successful mating. Only males are attacked by a robber fly, Philonicus albiceps, while flying to females. This imposes strong selection on males - only males who can evade predators mate. Males are also attracted to human simulations of female calls. This behaviour exposes the mating system to impacts from anthropogenic noise systems which could disrupt mating activity of this species. Our results improve the understanding of mate choice/competition in cicadas, and are valuable for future studies of the evolution of sound communication in the Cicadoidea.
Project description:Nocturnal insects have evolved ultrasound-sensitive hearing in response to predation pressures from echolocating insectivorous bats. Flying tympanate moths take various evasive actions when they detect bat cries, including turning away, performing a steering/zigzagging flight and ceasing flight. In general, infrequent ultrasonic pulses with low sound intensities that are emitted by distant bats evoke slight turns, whereas frequent and loud ultrasonic pulses of nearby bats evoke erratic or rapid unpredictable changes in the flight path of a moth. Flight cessation, which is a freezing response that causes the moth to passively dive (drop) to the ground, is considered the ultimate last-ditch evasive behaviour against approaching bats where there is a high predation threat. Here, we found that the crambid moth Nomophila nearctica never performed passive dives in response to frequent and loud ultrasonic pulses of >60 dB sound pressure level (SPL) that simulated the attacking echolocation call sequence of the predominant sympatric insectivorous bat Eptesicus fuscus, but rather turned away or flew erratically, regardless of the temporal structure of the stimulus. Consequently, N. nearctica is likely to survive predation by bats by taking early evasive action even when it detects the echolocation calls of sympatric bats hunting other insects at a distance. Since aerially hawking bats can track and catch erratically flying moths after targeting their prey, this early escape strategy may be common among night-flying tympanate insects.
Project description:The mammalian cochlea possesses unique acoustic sensitivity due to a mechanoelectrical 'amplifier', which requires the metabolic support of the cochlear lateral wall. Loud sound exposure sufficient to induce permanent hearing damage causes cochlear blood flow reduction, which may contribute to hearing loss. However, sensory epithelium involvement in the cochlear blood flow regulation pathway is not fully described. We hypothesize that genetic manipulation of the mechanoelectrical transducer complex will abolish sound induced cochlear blood flow regulation. We used salsa mice, a Chd23 mutant with no mechanoelectrical transduction, and deafness before p56. Using optical coherence tomography angiography, we measured the cochlear blood flow of salsa and wild-type mice in response to loud sound (120?dB SPL, 30?minutes low-pass filtered noise). An expected sound induced decrease in cochlear blood flow occurred in CBA/CaJ mice, but surprisingly the same sound protocol induced cochlear blood flow increases in salsa mice. Blood flow did not change in the contralateral ear. Disruption of the sympathetic nervous system partially abolished the observed wild-type blood flow decrease but not the salsa increase. Therefore sympathetic activation contributes to sound induced reduction of cochlear blood flow. Additionally a local, non-sensory pathway, potentially therapeutically targetable, must exist for cochlear blood flow regulation.
Project description:The soundscape serves as a backdrop for acoustic signals dispatched within and among species, spanning mate attraction to parasite host detection. Elevated background sound levels from human-made and natural sources may interfere with the reception of acoustic signals and alter species interactions and whole ecological communities. We investigated whether background noise influences the ability of the obligate parasitoid Ormia ochracea to locate its host, the variable field cricket (Gryllus lineaticeps). As O. ochracea use auditory cues to locate their hosts, we hypothesized that higher background noise levels would mask or distract flies from cricket calls and result in a decreased ability to detect and navigate to hosts. We used a field manipulation where fly traps baited with playback of male cricket advertisement calls were exposed to a gradient of experimental traffic and ocean surf noise. We found that increases in noise amplitude caused a significant decline in O. ochracea caught, suggesting that background noise can influence parasitoid-host interactions and potentially benefit hosts. As human-caused sensory pollution increases globally, soundscapes may influence the evolution of tightly co-evolved host-parasitoid relationships. Future work should investigate whether female cricket phonotaxis towards males is similarly affected by noise levels.
Project description:Male Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) produce loud and high fundamental frequency bugles during the mating season, in contrast to the male European Red Deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus) who produces loud and low fundamental frequency roaring calls. A critical step in understanding vocal communication is to relate sound complexity to anatomy and physiology in a causal manner. Experimentation at the sound source, often difficult in vivo in mammals, is simulated here by a finite element model of the larynx and a wave propagation model of the vocal tract, both based on the morphology and biomechanics of the elk. The model can produce a wide range of fundamental frequencies. Low fundamental frequencies require low vocal fold strain, but large lung pressure and large glottal flow if sound intensity level is to exceed 70 dB at 10 m distance. A high-frequency bugle requires both large muscular effort (to strain the vocal ligament) and high lung pressure (to overcome phonation threshold pressure), but at least 10 dB more intensity level can be achieved. Glottal efficiency, the ration of radiated sound power to aerodynamic power at the glottis, is higher in elk, suggesting an advantage of high-pitched signaling. This advantage is based on two aspects; first, the lower airflow required for aerodynamic power and, second, an acoustic radiation advantage at higher frequencies. Both signal types are used by the respective males during the mating season and probably serve as honest signals. The two signal types relate differently to physical qualities of the sender. The low-frequency sound (Red Deer call) relates to overall body size via a strong relationship between acoustic parameters and the size of vocal organs and body size. The high-frequency bugle may signal muscular strength and endurance, via a 'vocalizing at the edge' mechanism, for which efficiency is critical.
Project description:The data presented in this article are related to our research article entitled "Effects of sound pressure level and visual perceptual load on the auditory mismatch negativity" (M. Szychowska, R. Eklund, M.E. Nilsson, S. Wiens, 2016) . The duration MMN was recorded at three sound pressure levels (SPLs) during two levels of visual perceptual load. In an oddball paradigm (standard=75 ms, deviant=30 ms, within-subjects design), participants were presented with tones at 56, 66, or 76 dB SPL (between-subjects design). At the same time, participants focused on a letter-detection task (find X in a circle of six letters). In separate blocks, perceptual load was either low (the six letters were the same) or high (the six letters differed). In the first data collection, tones had only 76 dB SPL . In a follow-up data collection with exactly the same procedure, tones had 56 and 66 dB SPL . Here, we report the procedure, the recording of electroencephalography (EEG) and its preprocessing in terms of event-related potentials (ERPs), the preprocessing of behavioral data, as well as the grand mean ERPs in figures. For each participant, the reported ERP data include mean amplitudes for standards, deviants, and the difference wave (MMN) at Fz (with tip of nose as a reference), separately for the combinations of SPL and load. Reported behavioral data include the signal-detection measure d' as an index of detection performance.