Revisiting the drivers of acoustic similarities in tropical anuran assemblages



Sugai LSM, Llusia D, Siqueira T & Silva TSF (2021) Revisiting the drivers of acoustic similarities in tropical anuran assemblages. Ecology, 102 (7), Art. No.: e03380.

Acoustic signaling is key in mediating mate-choice, which directly impacts individual fitness. Because background noise and habitat structure can impair signal transmission, the acoustic space of mixed-species assemblages has long been hypothesized to reflect selective pressures against signal interference and degradation. However, other potential drivers that received far less attention can drive similar outputs on the acoustic space. Phylogenetic niche conservatism and allometric constraints may also modulate species acoustic features, and the acoustic space of communities could be a side-effect of ecological assembly processes involving other traits (e.g. environmental filtering). Additionally, the acoustic space can also reflect the sorting of species relying on public information through extended communication networks. Using an integrative approach, we revisit the potential drivers of the acoustic space by addressing the distribution of acoustic traits, body size, and phylogenetic relatedness in tropical anuran assemblages across gradients of environmental heterogeneity in the Pantanal wetlands. We found the overall acoustic space to be aggregated compared with null expectations, even when accounting for confounding effects of body size. Across assemblages, acoustic and phylogenetic differences were positively related, while acoustic and body size similarities were negatively related, although to a minor extent. We suggest that acoustic partitioning, acoustic adaptation, and allometric constraints play a minor role in shaping the acoustic output of tropical anuran assemblages and that phylogenetic niche conservatism and public information use would influence between-assemblage variation. Our findings highlight an overlooked multivariate nature of the acoustic dimension and underscore the importance of including the ecological context of communities to understand drivers of the acoustic space.

communication; sensory ecology; sensory drive; community phylogenetics; bioacoustics

Ecology: Volume 102, Issue 7

Publication date31/07/2021
Publication date online03/05/2021
Date accepted by journal03/05/2021

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Dr Thiago Silva
Dr Thiago Silva

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences