Collective Behaviour - Summer Seminar Series 2021

Group coordination through vocal communication

Gabriella Gall, University of Konstanz

Gabriella Gall (i.e. Cini) started her studies in Biology at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität in Munich in 2007, where she completed her BSc with a thesis on the reproduction and the choice of spawning ground of the European Green Toad (Bufo viridis), supervised by Dr. Andreas Zahn in 2010. She then went on to the University of Zurich to study animal behaviour and completed her MSc supervised by Prof Marta Manser & Prof Michael Schaepmann with a thesis titled "Assessment of spatio-temporal shifts in meerkats" in 2012. Afterwards, she joined the group of Prof Homayoun Bagheri at UZH to study historical epidemics and pandemics, such as the response of the city state of Zurich to the outbreak of the Syphilis epidemic in 1496. She started her PhD in 2013, returning to the group of Marta Manser to study group coordination and decision-making in meerkats (Suricata suricatta), and finished in 2018. Since then, she has been writing grants and applying for postdocs. From 2019 to 2020, she joined Yasmine Meroz's lab at the University of Tel Aviv to study the interactions among mutually shading sunflowers. Now that she has received a CASCB Zukunftskolleg fellowship, she will be joining Ari Strandburg-Peshkin's group at CASCB and University of Konstanz in May 2021.

Group coordination through vocal communication

Group coordination, when ‘on the move’ or when visibility is low, is a challenge faced by many social living animals. While some animals manage to maintain cohesion solely through visual contact, the mechanism of group cohesion through other modes of communication such as the acoustic modality is little understood. Importantly, the efficiency of communication between animals is determined by the perception range of signals. With changes in the environment, signal transmission between a sender and a receiver can be influenced both directly, where the signal’s propagation quality itself is affected, and indirectly where the senders or receivers’ behaviour is impaired, impacting for example the distance between them. Here I will present research on the coordination mechanism through vocal signals of meerkats (Suricata suricatta) in the Kalahari Desert and explore how meerkats adjust their behaviour to cope with the unpredictable environment they live in. I will than present ideas for my future research with common pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) at the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour, University of Konstanz.

Datum: 2021-05-03