November 26 2014

12:00 LSB 2320

Christopher Clark
Department of Biology, UC Riverside

Singing feathers, animal aeroacoustics, and the evolution of complex displays 'Singing' feathers, animal aeroacoustics, and the evolution of complex displays


Remarkable animal courtship displays are widespread. Such exaggerated behaviors are similar to human athletic events, featuring high power output and extreme performance attributes. Behavioral ecologists tend to mistakenly assume such behaviors have high "energetic costs", but I argue that, due to their short duration, such displays are intrinsically unlikely to have significant energy costs. 'Handicap' theories designed to explain exaggerated morphology are not well suited to explain such behavioral signals and I propose they are instead index signals. Next, birds during their displays often produce sounds with their feathers. I describe how hummingbird feathers produce a wide range of sounds in hummingbirds. Flight produces an intrinsic aeroacoustic signature. I describe efforts to understand the aerodynamic basis and functional consequences of these sounds. Then, I consider how the elaborate, innate courtship displays of hummingbirds have evolved. These displays are made of kinematic 'modules' and much of the interspecific diversity in display arises from rearrangement and duplication of such modules. I finish by discussing how the fields of biomechanics and behavioral ecology have two very different views and approaches to the biology of animal locomotion, and possible ways these fields could be better integrated.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































this is idtest: