Benjamin Pitcher

Benjamin Pitcher
Macquarie University · Department of Biological Sciences

PhD

About

38
Publications
6,775
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,023
Citations
Citations since 2017
17 Research Items
634 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
Introduction
Benjamin Pitcher currently works at the Department of Biological Sciences , Macquarie University. Benjamin does research in Animal Communications, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Additional affiliations
February 2015 - present
Macquarie University
Position
  • Research Associate
September 2011 - September 2013
Queen Mary, University of London
Position
  • Research Associate
February 2007 - December 2010
Université Paris-Sud 11
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 2007 - November 2010
Université Paris-Sud 11
Field of study
  • Animal Behaviour
February 2007 - September 2010
Macquarie University
Field of study
  • Animal Behaviour
March 2001 - July 2005
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (38)
Preprint
1. Machine (especially deep) learning algorithms are changing the way wildlife imagery is processed. They dramatically speed up the time to detect, count classify animals and their behaviours. Yet, we currently lack a systematic literature survey on its use in wildlife imagery.2. Through a literature survey (a ‘rapid’ review) and bibliometric mappi...
Article
Full-text available
Communication is the process by which one emitter conveys information to one or several receivers to induce a response (behavioral or physiological) by the receiver. Communication plays a major role in various biological functions and may involve signals and cues from different sensory modalities. Traditionally, investigations of animal communicati...
Article
The long-distance, unpredictable movement patterns of nomadic species make them challenging to monitor and conserve. Critically endangered regent honeyeaters Anthochaera phrygia once roamed southeastern Australia in 'immense flocks' but now number fewer than 300 wild birds over a vast 300,000 km 2 range. Regent honeyeaters are a rare example where...
Chapter
Like most sea lions, Australian sea lions are benthic foragers with prolonged lactation, extensive parental care, complex social interactions, mild-moderate polygyny, are relatively long-lived and near apex predators. They have been well studied in regards to population dynamics, foraging ecology, parent-offspring behavior and social communication;...
Article
Full-text available
Evaluating the effectiveness of captive breeding programs is central to improving conservation outcomes in released animals. However, few studies have assessed the impact of the strategies and trade-offs involved in husbandry decisions and the selection of traits on the success of breeding programs. This study evaluated a range of husbandry feature...
Article
Full-text available
Translocation programmes implying the movement of animals from one place to another aim to sustain endangered populations in the wild. However, their success varies greatly, with predation being a major contributing factor. This is particularly prevalent in released captive-raised individuals which have a reduced or lost awareness of predators. Ala...
Article
Olfaction is one of the most commonly used senses for communication among animals and is of particular importance to mother-offspring recognition in mammals. The use of smell in offspring recognition has been well studied, however, we often lack information about the underlying mechanistic basis for olfactory recognition. Using gas chromatography–m...
Article
Recognition of individuals or classes of individuals plays an important role in the communication systems of many mammals. The ability of otariid (i.e., fur seal and sea lion) females to locate and identify their offspring in colonies after returning from regular foraging trips is essential to successful pup rearing. It has been shown that olfactio...
Article
Full-text available
Animals often employ multiple sensory modalities for communication and recognition; however, the combination of sensory cues used by individuals in given contexts will vary. Although mother-offspring recognition has been widely investigated and is known to be a multimodal process in gregarious mammal species, there is a dearth of information about...
Article
Full-text available
Increasingly, human activities, including those aimed at conserving species and ecosystems (conservation activities) influence not only the survival and fitness but also the welfare of wild animals. Animal welfare relates to how an animal is experiencing its life and encompasses both its physical and mental states. While conservation biology and an...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging site fidelity allows animals to increase their efficiency by returning to profitable feeding areas. However, the mechanisms underpinning why animals 'stay' or 'switch' sites have rarely been investigated. Here, we explore how habitat quality and prior prey capture experience influence short-term site fidelity by the little penguin (Eudyptu...
Article
Full-text available
Mammals use multiple sensory cues for mother-offspring recognition. While the role of single sensory cues has been well studied, we lack information about how multiple cues produced by mothers are integrated by their offspring. Knowing that Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) pups recognise their mother's calls, we first tested whether visual cu...
Article
Parental care is an important factor influencing offspring survival and adult reproductive success in many vertebrates. Parent–offspring recognition ensures care is only directed to filial young, avoiding the costs of misallocated resource transfer. It is essential in colonial mammal species, such as otariids (fur seals and sea lions), in which rep...
Article
Full-text available
Prey distribution acts at multiple spatial scales to influence foraging success by predators. The overall distribution of prey may shape foraging ranges, the distance between patches may influence the ability of predators to detect and move between profitable areas, and individual patch characteristics may affect prey capture efficiency. In this st...
Article
Full-text available
When identifying other individuals, animals may match current cues with stored information about that individual from the same sensory modality. Animals may also be able to combine current information with previously acquired information from other sensory modalities, indicating that they possess complex cognitive templates of individuals that are...
Article
Full-text available
Olfaction is a key sense for mammals, and as a result chemical signals are an important means of communication for most mammalian species. It has long been established that most mammals make, distribute, and respond to chemosignals in a range of contexts, including reproduction, parent–offspring interactions, and social relationships (1). However,...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mammal vocal parameters such as fundamental frequency (or pitch; fo) and formant dispersion often provide information about quality traits of the producer (e.g. dominance and body size), suggesting that they are sexually selected. However, little experimental evidence exists demonstrating the importance of these cues in intrasexual compe...
Article
Full-text available
Vocalizations encode a range of information about the caller, and variation in calling behavior and vocal structure may provide listeners with information about the motivation and condition of the caller. Fallow bucks only vocalize during the breeding season and can produce more than 3000 groans per hour. Males modulate their calling rates, calling...
Article
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jzo.12083/abstract We conducted a study of the male rut vocalizations (groans) of two closely related species, Persian and European fallow deer. Persian fallow deer are endangered, restricted to Iran and Israel, and their rut vocalizations have never been studied. By contrast, European fallow deer are one...
Article
Full-text available
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0064825 Abstract Sexual selection has resulted in sex-based size dimorphism in many mammals, including humans. In Western societies, average to taller stature men and comparatively shorter, slimmer women have higher reproductive success and are typically considered more attractive...
Article
Full-text available
Vertebrates that eavesdrop on heterospecific alarm calls must distinguish alarms from sounds that can safely be ignored, but the mechanisms for identifying heterospecific alarm calls are poorly understood. While vertebrates learn to identify heterospecific alarms through experience, some can also respond to unfamiliar alarm calls that are acoustica...
Article
Colonial living imposes strong selection pressures on the communication systems of species with many animals communicating on the same sensory channels simultaneously. Colonial species often exhibit complex individual vocal signatures that encode a caller's identity in their vocalizations. During lactation, Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, mo...
Article
Full-text available
Historically, anatomical evidence has suggested that marine mammals are anosmic or at best microsmatic, i.e. absent or reduced olfactory capabilities. However, these neuroanatomical considerations may not be appropriate predictors for the use of olfaction in social interactions. Observations suggest that pinnipeds may use olfaction in mother-pup in...
Article
Full-text available
In many gregarious mammals, mothers and offspring have developed the abilities to recognise each other using acoustic signals. Such capacity may develop at different rates after birth/parturition, varying between species and between the participants, i.e., mothers and young. Differences in selective pressures between species, and between mothers an...
Article
Full-text available
The vocal characteristics of a species can be immensely diverse, and can significantly impact animal social interactions. The social structure of a species may vary with geographical variation in call characteristics. The ability of pinnipeds (true seals, fur seals, sea lions and walrus) to distinguish between conspecifics may assist male reproduct...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to recognize other individuals plays an important role in mediating social interactions. As longitudinal studies are challenging, there is only limited evidence of long-term memory of individuals and concepts in mammals. We examined the ability of six wild Australian sea lions to discriminate between the voice of their mother and anothe...
Article
As in all otariids, Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, females alternate foraging trips at sea with suckling periods ashore, and each time they return, mothers and pups have to find each other among individuals at the colony. The need for a finely tuned mechanism of individual recognition is exacerbated by their habit of changing the suckling l...
Article
Full-text available
Alarm calls potentially provide information about predators to heterospecifics, but little is known about patterns of eavesdropping among species. Many cases of eavesdropping in birds and mammals involve social species in mixed-species groups, but this is not always true and the reliability of information may also be critical. We used a playback ex...
Article
Full-text available
In pinnipeds, maternal care strategies and colony density may influence a species' individual recognition system. We examined the onset of vocal recognition of mothers by Australian sea lion pups (Neophoca cinerea). At 2 months of age, pups responded significantly more to the calls of their own mothers than alien female calls demonstrating a finely...
Article
Full-text available
Alarm calls given by other species potentially provide a network of information about danger, but little is known about the role of acoustic similarity compared with learning in recognition of heterospecific calls. In particular, the aerial 'hawk' alarm calls of passerines provide a textbook example of signal design because many species have conver...
Article
Nestling birds could minimize the risk of being overheard by predators by becoming silent after parental alarm calls, begging only when parents arrive with food, and independently assessing cues that a predator is nearby. Begging only to parents is challenging because young that respond quickly can be more likely to be fed, so there is a benefit of...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals are likely to benefit from responding to the alarm signals of other species with similar predators, and mutual interspecific responses to aerial (hawk) alarms are thought to be common in birds, in part because similarity in alarm call structure among species might facilitate detection or interpretation. However, there has been no test o...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Project (1)
Project
This project aims to determine how acoustic, olfactory, and visual cues are used in a synergistic way to permit accurate mutual mother-offspring recognition in a mammalian species.