Christopher N. Templeton

Christopher N. Templeton
Pacific University Oregon · Department of Biology

PhD

About

61
Publications
9,134
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1,763
Citations
Citations since 2016
35 Research Items
1103 Citations
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Introduction
I am an integrative biologist who studies the ecology and evolution of animal behavior. My research interests are diverse, but many projects focus on avian communication and cognition.
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - present
University of St Andrews
January 2003 - December 2009
January 2000 - present
University of Montana

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
Full-text available
Rapid population growth and the urbanization of modern environments are markedly increasing human-wildlife conflict. Wild animals in urban landscapes can benefit from exploiting human resources, but are also exposed to increased risk of human-caused injury, which should favor the ability to perceive and respond to human cues. Although it is well kn...
Article
Full-text available
Consistent individual differences in behaviour across time or contexts (i.e. personality types) have been found in many species and have implications for fitness. Likewise, individual variation in cognitive abilities has been shown to impact fitness. Cognition and personality are complex, multidimensional traits. However, previous work has generall...
Article
Full-text available
Music is especially valued in human societies, but music-like behavior in the form of song also occurs in a variety of other animal groups including primates. The calling of our primate ancestors may well have evolved into the music of modern humans via multiple selective scenarios. But efforts to uncover these influences have been hindered by the...
Article
Full-text available
Social interaction among animals can occur under many contexts, such as during foraging. Our knowledge of the regions within an avian brain associated with social interaction is limited to the regions activated by a single context or sensory modality. We used 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) to examine American crow ( C...
Article
Noise pollution is commonly associated with human environments and mounting evidence indicates that noise has a variety of negative effects on wildlife. Noise has also been linked to cognitive impairment in humans and because many animals use cognitively intensive processes to overcome environmental challenges, noise pollution has the potential to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals communicate acoustically to report location and identity to conspecifics. More complex patterning of calls can also function as displays to potential mates and as territorial advertisement. Music and song are terms often reserved only for humans and birds, but elements of both forms of acoustic display are also found in non-human primates....
Article
Full-text available
Many animals produce coordinated signals, but few are more striking than the elaborate male-female vocal duets produced by some tropical songbirds. Yet, little is known about the factors driving the extreme levels of vocal coordination between mated pairs in these taxa. We examined evolutionary patterns of duet coordination and their potential evol...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have shown that territorial animals exhibit less aggression in response to neighbours than to strangers, a phenomenon known as dear enemy effect. The influence of acoustic features, such as song type sharing and repertoire sizes, in neighbour recognition has been widely documented in male songbirds. However, few studies have focuse...
Data
A participatory monitoring programme of an exceptional modification of urban soundscapes during Covid-19 containment.
Article
Full-text available
Mobbing is an anti-predator behavior where multiple species collectively harass a predator while vocalizing. These flocks are made up of species whose vocalizations contain information about predator threat (information sources), and those that eavesdrop on this information (scroungers). To be a community informant (a key information source), a spe...
Article
Full-text available
In songbirds, the spatial pattern of song sharing among individuals is influenced by the song learning and dispersal strategies within each species. In birds where females and males sing and create joint acoustic displays (duets), the processes defining the patterns of song sharing become more complex as there might be different selection pressures...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals exhibit consistent differences in behaviour and related cognitive performance. ‘Cognitive styles’-based hypotheses suggest the trade-off between speed and accuracy is an important factor where an individual's behavioural traits and linked decision speeds may account for its cognitive performance. The expected relationship between accura...
Article
Animals utilize a variety of auditory and visual cues to navigate the landscape of fear. For some species, including corvids, dead conspecifics appear to act as one such visual cue of danger, and prompt alarm calling by attending conspecifics. Which brain regions mediate responses to dead conspecifics, and how this compares to other threats, has so...
Article
Full-text available
Animal alarm calls can contain detailed information about a predator's threat, and hetero-specific eavesdropping on these signals creates vast communication networks. While eavesdropping is common, this indirect public information is often less reliable than direct predator observations. Red-breasted nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) eavesdrop on chick...
Poster
Full-text available
Singing has evolved independently in several different taxa of vertebrates. In primates, the ultimate co-evolutionary influences on song evolution include social signaling and habitat acoustic effects. Proximate mechanisms such as how these songs are learned, however, are less well understood. Vocal learning species include birds (songbirds, parrot...
Article
Mobbing, where birds harass a predator through a combination of vocalizations and stereotyped behaviours, is an effective anti‐predator behaviour for many species. Mobbing may be particularly important for juveniles, as these individuals are often more vulnerable than are adults. Although the component behaviours of mobbing are often considered to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Musical behavior is likely as old as our species with song originating as early as 60 million years ago in the primate order. Early singing likely evolved into the music of modern humans via multiple selective events, but efforts to disentangle these influences have been stifled by challenges to precisely define this behavior in a broadly applicabl...
Article
Full-text available
The use of information provided by others is a common short-cut adopted to inform decision-making. However, instead of indiscriminately copying others, animals are often selective in what, when and whom they copy. How do they decide which ‘social learning strategy’ to use? Previous research indicates that stress hormone exposure in early life may b...
Article
Carlson and colleagues introduce mobbing an anti-predator behaviour found in many animals.
Article
A variety of animals eavesdrop and learn to use other species' alarm calls to avoid predators. Superb fairy-wrens, when hearing unfamiliar calls together with known alarm calls, can learn to associate these new calls with danger.
Article
The social environment can play an important role in shaping the foraging behaviour of animals. In this study we investigated whether archerfish, Toxotes jaculatrix, display any behavioural changes in response to the presence of an audience while using their specialized foraging tactic of shooting, spitting precisely aimed jets of water, at prey ta...
Article
Full-text available
Exchange of vocal signals is an important aspect of animal communication. Although birdsong is the premier model for understanding vocal development, the development of vocal interaction rules in birds and possible parallels to humans have been little studied. Many tropical songbirds engage in complex vocal interactions in the form of duets between...
Article
Avian song learning has a rich history of study and has become the preeminent system for understanding the ontogeny of vocal communication in animals. Song learning in birds has many parallels with human language learning, ranging from the neural mechanisms involved to the importance of social factors in shaping signal acquisition. While much has b...
Article
Full-text available
Duets are a jointly produced signal where two or more individuals coordinate their vocalizations by overlapping or alternating their songs. Duets are used in a wide array of contexts within partnerships, ranging from territory defence to pair bond maintenance. It has been proposed that pairs that coordinate their songs might also better coordinate...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals alter their anti-predator behavior in accordance to the threat level of a predator. While much research has examined variation in mobbing responses to different predators, few studies have investigated how anti-predator behavior is affected by changes in a predator’s own state or behavior. We examined the effect of sparrowhawk (Accipit...
Article
Full-text available
To combat the threat of predation, prey species have developed a variety of ways to recognize and respond appropriately to novel predators. While there is evidence that predator recognition does not require learning in certain species, learning appears to play an important role for other species. In systems where learning is important, it is less c...
Article
Many species use antipredator vocalizations to signal information about potential predators, including the level of threat posed by a particular predator. It is not clear, however, why only some prey species do this. Because they use multiple mechanisms to encode threat-specific information about predators, North American Paridae species have been...
Article
Full-text available
Many factors, including the demonstrator's sex, status, and familiarity, shape the nature and magnitude of social learning. Given the important role of pair bonds in socially-monogamous animals, we predicted that these intimate relationships would promote the use of social information, and tested this hypothesis in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttat...
Article
Full-text available
Summary Anthropogenic noise is one of the fastest growing and most ubiquitous types of environmental pollution and can impair acoustic communication in a variety of animals [1]. Recent research has shown that birds can adjust acoustic parameters of their sexual signals (songs) in noisy environments [2,3], yet we know little about other types of voc...
Article
Full-text available
Recent findings have indicated that European starlings perceive overall spectral shape and use this, rather than absolute pitch or timbre, to generalize between similar melodic progressions. This finding highlights yet another parallel between human and avian vocal communication systems and has many biological implications.
Poster
Full-text available
Several, related hypotheses on the origins of primates attribute their derived morphological traits (e.g. grasping limbs, orbital convergence, reduced olfactory apparatus, and enlarged cranium) as adaptations to the behavioral demands of arboreal ecologies such as angiosperm terminal branch feeding or acrobatic grasp-leap locomotion. Arboreal habit...
Article
Full-text available
The ‘cognitive capacity hypothesis’ states that song complexity could potentially be used by prospective mates to assess an individual's overall cognitive ability. Several recent studies have provided support for the cognitive capacity hypothesis, demonstrating that individuals with more complex songs or larger song repertoires performed better on...
Article
Full-text available
Pairs of duetting birds can sing coordinated duets with such precision that they are often mistaken for a single individual, yet little is known about how this impressive temporal synchronization is achieved. We experimentally examined duet coordination in male happy wrens, held briefly in captivity, by playing song phrases from their partner at di...
Article
Animals frequently use signals to modulate aggressive interactions. Establishing that a signal is aggressive or threatening requires demonstrating that it is more commonly used in agonistic contexts, that it predicts subsequent aggressive behaviors by the sender, and that receivers respond differently to this signal. Like many birds, song sparrows...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal duetting occurs in many taxa, but its function remains much-debated. Like species in which only one sex sings, duetting birds can use their song repertoires to signal aggression by singing song types that match those of territorial intruders. However, when pairs do not share specific combinations of songs (duet codes), individuals must choose...
Article
Avian song learning is an important model system for understanding vocal learning in humans and other animals. Laboratory studies indicate that social interactions are critical for song learning, but field observations show that territorial males are aggressive to intruders, raising the question of whether young birds are tolerated, much less tutor...
Article
Steroid sex hormones play critical roles in the development of brain regions used for vocal learning. It has been suggested that puberty-induced increases in circulating testosterone (T) levels crystallize a bird's repertoire and inhibit future song learning. Previous studies show that early administration of T crystallizes song repertoires but hav...
Article
The time between fledging and breeding is a critical period in songbird ontogeny, but the behavior of young songbirds in the wild is relatively unstudied. The types of social relationships juveniles form with other individuals can provide insight into the process through which they learn complex behaviors crucial for survival, territory establishme...
Article
Extrapair paternity (EPP) is a common feature of many mating systems. Although molecular methods have made it possible to document the rate of EPP across numerous taxa, we still lack an understanding of how and why EPP happens. Behavioral data on mating interactions are needed to answer this question. We employed radiotelemetry to follow the moveme...
Article
Vocal duetting occurs in diverse animal groups. Members of a mated pair may duet to communicate with each other or with other individuals. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the function of duets, and studies often provide support for the joint resource defence or mate-guarding hypotheses. We evaluated these hypotheses for the happy wren...
Article
Chickadees and tits excel at identifying and exploiting novel food sources. One such food source in western North America is the larvae of Urophora gall flies (Diptera: Tephritidae), which were recently introduced to help control the spread of spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa). In winter, Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) of many w...
Article
The evolution of cooperation between unrelated individuals has been a central issue in evolutionary biology. The main problem in most theories of cooperation is how a cooperative player selects individuals to ‘trust’ so that he does not get exploited by noncooperators. While early models emphasized the role of direct experience with individuals in...
Article
We examined ‘late’ song learning in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia), i.e., song learning that occurs after the first few months, or classical sensitive period, of the natal summer. Fledgling juveniles were brought into the laboratory at 2–3 mo of age and exposed to computer-simulated song tutors in three different time periods: late in the natal...
Article
Recent research has demonstrated that bird song learning is influenced by social factors, but so far has been unable to isolate the particular social variables central to the learning process. Here we test the hypothesis that eavesdropping on singing interactions of adults is a key social event in song learning by birds. In a field experiment, we c...
Article
Many territorial animals, despite being in direct competition for resources such as space, food and mates, show reduced aggression towards their neighbours. This situation is called the Dear Enemy effect. One explanation of the Dear Enemy effect is that it is due to a conditional strategy like Tit for Tat where territory holders cooperate by reduci...
Article
We used a mixed live/synthetic tutoring design to investigate whether the social factors of eavesdropping on adult singing interactions and/or direct interaction with a tutor would influence song learning in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Males were brought into the laboratory at 4–5 d-old, hand-raised and then tutored by two pairs of adult son...
Article
Bird song learning is a major model system for the study of learning with many parallels to human language development. In this experiment we examined a critical but poorly understood aspect of song learning: its social context. We compared how much young song sparrows, Melospiza melodia, learned from two kinds of adult ‘song tutors’: one with whom...
Article
Many animals recognize the alarm calls produced by other species, but the amount of information they glean from these eavesdropped signals is unknown. We previously showed that black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) have a sophisticated alarm call system in which they encode complex information about the size and risk of potential predators...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals produce alarm signals when they detect a potential predator, but we still know little about the information contained in these signals. Using presentations of 15 species of live predators, we show that acoustic features of the mobbing calls of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapilla) vary with the size of the predator. Companion p...
Article
Animals alter their behavior to avoid a variety of different types of predators. Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) have been an important system for examining the evolution of antipredator behavior because geographically isolated populations experience different amounts of aquatic predation. Although the influence of aquatic predators has b...
Article
Bird song learning is a major model system for the study of learning with many parallels to human language development. In this experiment we examined a critical but poorly understood aspect of song learning: its social context. We compared how much young song sparrows, Melospiza melodia, learned from two kinds of adult 'song tutors': one with whom...
Article
Interactions between plants and animals are extremely important in determining the diversity and composition of any habitat. One of the most important of these interactions is herbivory, and many animals specialize on eating plant seeds because of their relatively high nutritional content. Because seeds of different species contain different amount...
Article
Typescript. Thesis (M.S.)--University of Montana, 2002. Includes bibliographical references. Adviser, Erick Greene.

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Project (1)
Project
Determine the development and proximate mechanisms of rules that individuals use to engage in vocal interactions.