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Transcript of Communication I
What is Communication?
Types of Signal
The Evolution of Animal Communication
Identify proximate and ultimate questions and hypotheses to explain observed behaviour
Appreciate the evolution of animal signals, why they evolve, and how they are used to communicate
Identify why & how animals commmunicate
Explore the evolution of communication
Look at honesty and deception...
Krebs and Davies (1993) defined communication as ‘the process in which
specifically designated signals
or displays to
the behaviour of
The actor may also be known as the "sender" and the reactor as the "receiver"
In the following examples, identify:
the sender & receiver
the signal or display used
the modification to the receivers behaviour
Has a medium range but it easily blocked by features in the environment
For example, its range is drastically reduced in dense forest
Animals can make rapid changes to visual signals allowing them to alter their message
It is very easily located - the sender is very clear to the receiver
It costs the sender very little energy to send a visual signal so they are regularly used
These have a very long range - useful purposes such as locating seperated herd members or attracting mates
Again, the can be rapidly changed and are very flexible
Unlike visual signals, they do travel around objects
They also allow to receiver to locate the sender easily
However, these are very costly signals for the sender to produce
Have the shortest range as sender and receiver must be in actual contact
Again, the message can be rapidly adjusted to changing circumstances
There is no real ability to negate obstacles so physical boundaries limit their use
Again, it is very easy to locate the sender of a tactile signal
The cost of these signals is low
Can have a long range if needed
However, these signals are not very flexible in the short term
They travel around obstacles very well and can be carried on the wind
Locatability is variable - the wind could blow the sent off course
The cost of producing chemical signals is usually low
Name that Signal!
There may be more than one in each example!
If you can, tell me the features of that signal and how it might modify the behaviour of the receiver
Some signals are very costly to produce. This might be metabolically costly or in terms of risk to the sender (or both)
How might these signals be costly to produce?
Since the receiver can deduce something from the cost of producing these signals, they honestly convey information about the "quality" of the sender
From an evolutionary point of view, it is critical that the receiver judges this correctly
Tell me why it is important in each of the above examples
Deceit in the Animal Kingdom
Although the Springbok can not "lie" about being fitter than he is, because his stot will give him away, deceptive signals are common
This caterpillar of the Alcon Blue butterfly produces a chemical signal identical to a larval ant, tricking the ants into taking it into the colony, protecting and caring for it until it pupates.
However, this parasitoid wasp can detect the "fake" ant larvae from outside the nest.
During the ensuing chaos, lays its own egg inside each interloper, providing her off-spring with an enter ant army of protectors and a source of food.
First, is sprays its own pheromone into the colony, causing the ants to turn on each other.
Deceit is frequency dependent - too many cheats and everyone one else is on their guard.
Deceivers do not need a conscious awareness or intent to deceive. Those that displayed this response at some time had a fitness benefit and passed the trait on to their off-spring.
Remember that this is the topic of your assignment.
For this, you will need to do a lot of reading around the subject
Manning & Stamps Dawkins - An Introduction to Animal Behaviour, pg 144 - 164
Barnard - Animal Behaviour: Mechanism, Development, Function & Evolution, pg 533 - 568
Alcock - Animal Behaviour Chapter 9
In addition, you should read AT LEAST 5 recent journal articles on the subject of communication
Many signals have a functional origin
For example, pinning delicate ears back protects them if under attack - this now is a signal of submission
Teeth are bared in the moment before growling or biting -
this is now a signal of aggression and intent to attack
How does it benefit the sender to give these signals?
How does it benefit the receiver to interpret them correctly?
By being beneficial to both sender & receiver, these signals have evolved to be universally understood within this species