Strategies for Improved Biosonar Performance in Bat Social Networks
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For decades researchers have wondered how echolocating bats avoid interfering with one other’s sonar while flying in dense swarms or in crowded roosts. This thesis explores how groups of bats manage this by applying lessons learned from communications theories. Wireless communications networks optimize signaling efficiency by slowing transmission rates during periods of high traffic to minimize interferences among users attempting to transmit simultaneously over a single shared channel. It’s hypothesized that bats may improve sonar performance by adapting emission rates proportional to population density using similar algorithms. The hypothesis will be tested using playback stimuli mimicking the presence of other bats presented to flying bats performing challenging sonar-guided navigational tasks in solitary versus social contexts. These experiments will characterize those behavioral algorithms, revealing an important adaptation for echolocating in social contexts.
Davis, Kaylee (2014). Strategies for Improved Biosonar Performance in Bat Social Networks. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from