Friday, November 22 2019
11:30 - 13:00

Research Scholars Annex Hall

Cocktail party problem in the animal world and how animals solve it

Manjari Jain

IISER Mohali

Imagine trying to communicate with someone in a cocktail party where your voice gets drowned in the cacophony of
sounds from noisy neighbours, the loud background music and clinking of dishes.  Under such environments, signals tend to
get corrupted or ‘masked’ by irrelevant signals. This happens because multiple sound sources overlap in time and
frequency, thereby altering signal characteristics and/or making sound source segregation difficult. Non-human animals
also operate under such non-ideal and noisy conditions in which they must find a way to communicate with intended
receivers. This is known as the cocktail party problem. Yet, many animals do signal in large groups such as a chorusing
frogs and insects, a mixed species flock of birds or colony of bats emerging from a roost. In my talk I will discuss the
findings of my work done in this context on nocturnal insects. The problem was examined in a heterospecific assemblage of
crickets and katydids of a rainforest and a conspecific chorus of field crickets in an urban garden. I will discuss how
the problem may be common but solutions employed are different.

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