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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3HQ48

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The Neural Encoding of Heterospecific Vocalizations in the Avian Pallium: An Ethological Approach Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
seasonal
heterospecific
communication
chickadee
immediate early gene
songbird
bioacoustic
perception
diurnal
ZENK
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Avey, Marc
Supervisor and department
Sturdy, Christopher (Psychology, Neuroscience)
Examining committee member and department
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
Sturdy, Christopher (Psychology)
Prather, Jonathan (Zoology and Physiology)
Dickson, Clayton (Psychology)
Treit, Dallas (Psychology)
Department
Department of Psychology
Specialization

Date accepted
2011-09-29T15:27:43Z
Graduation date
2011-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Songbirds (order Passeriformes, suborder Oscines) have captured the attention of scientists and non-scientists alike with their vocal signals. The black-capped chickadee (genus Poecile) uses its namesake call, chick-a-dee, to convey a variety of information. In Chapter 2 and 3, I examine the relationship between season and diurnal cycle and the production of three vocalizations of black-capped chickadees. In the natural habitat chick-a-dee call production was highest in autumn and winter generally at the meridian. Fee-bee song production increased once in the winter and once in the spring, and occurred almost exclusively at dawn. Gargle production did not differ significantly by season but most occurred during the meridian (Chapter 2). In the laboratory, the patterns of production were in general agreement with the patterns in the natural habitat (Chapter 3). In Chapter 4, I examined what role the phylogenetic relatedness of a heterospecific individual had on neural activity, measured via an immediate early gene, in the auditory brain areas. Using natural calls I found that there was no difference in the amount of neural response from closely individuals but there was less response from a distantly related individual. To further examine this I used calls that were more similar in their bioacoustic structures. With these calls I found no difference in the amount of neural activity regardless of phylogenetic proximity. In Chapter 5, I used mobbing calls to explore whether ‘degree of threat’ is encoded in the auditory processing brain areas. Degree of threat was indicated by the amount of neural activity with high threat mobbing calls and high threat predator calls generating the most activity followed by low threat mobbing calls and low threat predator calls. Thus the ‘degree of threat’ was related to the amount of neural activity and within a threat level there was difference in the amount of activity regardless of the source of the threat. Finally, hand-reared birds had greater neural activity in response to mobbing calls which they had experience with than predator calls which they had no experience with. This result suggests that threat is a learned response and that the neural response is affected.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3HQ48
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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