Project

CITISENSE: Evolving communication systems in response to urban sensory conditions

Goal: The main aim is to understand how male frogs adapt their calling behaviour to changes in noise and light levels that are associated with increased urbanisation. We will combine population studies with large-scale field experiments and we will focus on the heritability of various signalling traits that are known to be under strong sexual and natural selection pressures.

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Project log

Wouter Halfwerk
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We have two post-doc positions available to study urban signal evolution in Panamanian tungara frogs. position 1 will focus on the genomic architecture underlying urban adaptation, whereas position 2 will focus on experimental signal evolution using artificial phenotypes. The deadline for both positions is 15th of December and starting dates are early 2021.
 
Wouter Halfwerk
added a research item
Urbanization can cause species to adjust their sexual displays, because the effectiveness of mating signals is influenced by environmental conditions. Despite many examples that show that mating signals in urban conditions differ from those in rural conditions, we do not know whether these differences provide a combined reproductive and survival benefit to the urban phe-notype. Here we show that male túngara frogs have increased the conspicuousness of their calls, which is under strong sexual and natural selection by signal receivers, as an adaptive response to city life. The urban phenotype consequently attracts more females than the forest phenotype, while avoiding the costs that are imposed by eavesdropping bats and midges, which we show are rare in urban areas. Finally, we show in a translocation experiment that urban frogs can reduce risk of predation and parasitism when moved to the forest, but that forest frogs do not increase their sexual attractiveness when moved to the city. Our findings thus reveal that urbanization can rapidly drive adaptive signal change via changes in both natural and sexual selection pressures.
Wouter Halfwerk
added an update
Our paper 'Adaptive changes in sexual signalling in response to urbanization' came online today.
Here's a link to an online accessible pdf https://rdcu.be/bdbFa
The findings of this paper formed the start of the CITISENSE project. Here we show that frogs in urban and forest areas differ and we argue that these changes are related to increased sexual selection as well as decreases natural selection. In the CITISENSE project we plan to follow-up on these patters by carrying out large scale exposure experiments as well as a common garden breeding scheme.
 
Wouter Halfwerk
added an update
We are currently hiring two PhD students for the project CITISENSE. Deadline of the application is October first.
Details of the position and application procedure can be found in the attached pdf.
 
Wouter Halfwerk
added a project goal
The main aim is to understand how male frogs adapt their calling behaviour to changes in noise and light levels that are associated with increased urbanisation. We will combine population studies with large-scale field experiments and we will focus on the heritability of various signalling traits that are known to be under strong sexual and natural selection pressures.