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Geographic variation in marmots’ alarm calls causes different responses

Abstract : Geographic variation in acoustic signals has been investigated for five decades to better understand the evolution of communi- cation. When receivers are able to discriminate among signals and to react accordingly, geographic variation can have major impacts on the ability of conspecifics to communicate. Surprisingly, geographic variation in alarm calls and its consequences for the communication process have been so far neglected despite their crucial role on individual survival. Working with four wild populations of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota), we found differences in the acoustic structure of their alarm calls. These differences cannot be explained by geographic or genetic distances but more likely by other mechanisms including random processes. Moreover, playback experiments provided evidence that receivers discriminate between alarm calls from their own versus other populations, with responses at lower intensity when the alarm calls played back originated from their own popu- lation. Research on the mechanistic causes of geographic variation and on the relationship between alarm call variation, famil- iarity, and intelligibility of signal and behavioral responses is now required to better understand how predation pressure, and more widely natural selection, could drive the evolution of communication.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 4, 2021 - 3:38:10 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 6:44:05 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, April 5, 2021 - 8:45:50 PM


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Thierry Lengagne, Mariona Ferrandiz-Rovira, Clara Superbie, Irene Figueroa, Coraline Bichet, et al.. Geographic variation in marmots’ alarm calls causes different responses. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2020, 74 (8), ⟨10.1007/s00265-020-02858-5⟩. ⟨hal-02975219⟩



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