Perception, sociality and breeding

We demonstrated that vocal communication is implied in an unexpected way in reproduction strategies.

Perception, sociality and reproduction
  1. Male starlings also choose their mates
  2. Whinnies bear information about their fertility
  3. Seasonal brain plasticity

Male starlings also choose their mates

Contrary to the dominant view on sexual selection, male starlings also choose their mates at breeding time. They seem to prefer females that have social affinities with another female with whom they share song structures. This seems to increase the chances of males to become polygynous.

Whinnies bear information about their fertility

An inter-team study gave us the opportunity to show that horses’ whinnies bear information about their fertility and that mares are attracted to certain voices (see also team 3).

Seasonal brain plasticity

Moreover, thanks to a collaboration with the BioImaging Lab in Antwerp, we demonstrated, through FRMI and electrophysiological recordings, a seasonal brain plasticity in information processing of specific acoustic signals  by adult male and female starlings: the proportion of responsive sites in females’ primary auditory area to song elements typical of unmated males is higher during the breeding season than out of the breeding season.

Une plasticité adulte saisonnière