Comparative Bioacoustics: An Overview

Comparative bioacoustics is extraordinarily broad in scope. It includes the study of sound propagation, dispersion, attenuation, absorption, reverberation, and signal degradation as well as sound ...
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Acoustic Preference Methods: Assessing Mates

Pp. 253-301 (49)

Katharina Riebel


Acoustic mating signals play an important role as mate attracting signals in many vertebrate and invertebrate species. Often, individuals within one population vary in the quantity and quality of their signaling effort. To test whether a signal indeed functions in mate attraction and whether variation in the signal influences this process, preference tests have been established as important research tools. This chapter reviews and explains contemporary methodology for acoustic preference testing. Special attention is given to general conceptual issues, experimental design, potential (but avoidable) experimental confounds and good testing practices.


Acoustic mating preferences, Acoustic mating signals, Acoustic preference testing, Internal & external validity, Operant preference tests.


Institute of Biology (IBL), Leiden University, Nl-2333BE Leiden, The Netherlands.