The Acoustic Communication Laboratory - Mark Bee, PI

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My research interests...

  • Acoustic communication
  • Auditory neuroscience
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Comparative psychology
  • Neuroethology
  • Sensory ecology
I am an organismal biologist broadly interested in the mechanisms, function, and evolution of animal communication. I am particularly interested in discovering both how and why animals acquire and process information in acoustic signals. To do so, my research draws on questions and methods from a number of different disciplinesMy principal study organisms are frogs, which use acoustic communication to mediate key social and reproductive behaviors. My current work utilizes female mate choice in North American treefrogs as a tool to investigate evolutionary adaptations that involve signal processing strategies for perceptually segregating vocalizations of interest from other overlapping signals and high background noise levels. Treefrogs are a natural choice for this line of inquiry, because they have evolved to communicate vocally in dense social environments (breeding choruses) characterized by high levels of noise and acoustic clutter. I am interested in how, in these environments, frogs cope with the problems of auditory masking and the challenges of assigning sounds to their correct sources. Research in my lab uses a variety of techniques to address these questions, including psychophysical experiments in the laboratory, field playback experiments, recordings of auditory evoked potentials (e.g., ABR), single-neuron recordings from the auditory midbrain, and biophysical measurements of the auditory periphery using laser Doppler vibrometry.