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Landscape bioacoustics allow detection of the effects of habitat patchiness on population structure

AuthorsLaiolo, Paola ; Tella, José Luis
Issue Date2006
PublisherEcological Society of America
CitationEcology 87: 1203- 1214 (2006)
AbstractLandscape structure may affect individual dispersal abilities, thus influencing the genotypic and phenotypic composition of populations. We analyzed the interplay among landscape, behavior, and evolutionary processes by correlating habitat patchiness to the variability in vocalizations of Dupont's Lark Chersophilus duponti, one of the most habitat-selective and rare European songbirds. We tape-recorded males throughout the species distribution in Spain, analyzed the spatial patterns of territorial call variation at different scales (individuals, populations, and broad geographic areas), and related acoustic variability to patterns of isolation by geographic distance and by landscape unsuitability (calculated by building a predictive model of habitat suitability). The differentiation of spectro-temporal call features resulted from both isolation by distance and isolation by landscape unsuitability mechanisms. Landscape connectivity was often a better determinant of call differentiation than simple straight-line distance between individuals, providing the first evidence that call transmission can be limited by the presence and distribution of patches of adequate habitat, which likely mediates bird dispersal. Landscape patchiness resulted in a reduction of acoustic diversity (repertoire size) within populations, and a parallel increase in differentiation among populations. Landscape bioacoustics can represent a promising tool for estimating population structure, although the study of animal communication cannot be viewed as an alternative, but a source of complementary information to genetics, given that it provides evidence of male-male transmission and social and cultural phenomena that are currently undetectable from molecular data. © 2006 by the Ecological Society of America.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1203:LBADOT]2.0.CO;2
issn: 0012-9658
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