Munich Neuroscience Calendar


14.11.2023, 11:00 Max-Planck-Institut for Biological Intelligence Campus Seewiesen
until 12:00
Event Type: Talk
Speaker: Ahana Fernandez
Institute: Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Berlin

Title: Vocal Ontogeny and Learning in Bats: An Animal Model for Biolinguistics

Hybrid event MPI BI, Haus 4, Seminarraum 4/0.07 und 4/0.08
82319 Seewiesen

Host: Jonathan Benichov

Bats have developed remarkable auditory and vocal abilities as an adaptation to their nocturnal lifestyle. These abilities encompass extensive vocal repertoires, song production, and vocal learning. What is fascinating is that their vocal communication is not solely shaped by ecological factors but is also influenced by their social environment. These factors make bats a promising taxon for studying the biological foundations and cognitive requirements of complex communication systems and understanding the factors that shape them.
The Greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata, stands out with its extensive vocal repertoire, including two distinct song types. Notably, a part of this vocal repertoire, referred to as the territorial song, is acquired through vocal imitation, representing an advanced form of vocal production learning. What sets this learning process apart is its unmistakable expression through a vocal practice known as "pup babbling". In my upcoming presentation, I will share the findings of my doctoral research, which reveal remarkable parallels between human speech acquisition and vocal development in S. bilineata. Additionally, I will introduce my current project, aimed at exploring the neural substrates of vocal learning –specifically the role of speech-relevant genes - in S. bilineata. Through this interdisciplinary approach, I aim to bridge classical ethology and bioacoustics with neurobiological analyses, ultimately advancing our understanding of the proximate and ultimate factors crucial for vocal learning - a fundamental component of human language.
Zoom link:
Meeting-ID: 844 7224 0120
Kenncode: 185545

Registration Link: