Acoustic and Spatial Neighbor Recognition in Poison Frogs
Based on our knowledge of call parameters carrying the potential for individual recognition (Gasser et al. 2009), play-back experiments in the field will test for a possible dear-enemy effect in the highly territorial and acoustically very active Brilliant-thighed Poison Frog. Allobates femoralis has been the main bioacoustic study object of W. Hödl, supervisor of this project, for over 20 years. Field studies will be organized in the CNRS station Pararé, Nouragues, French Guyana, where we have been working in collaboration with South American, French and US colleagues for over 20 years!
A genotyped population of A. femoralis will be established on a yet unpopulated river island across the field station Pararé in 2011. This closed population will allow the study of various aspects of the population genetics, behavior and ecology of A. femoralis without disturbing effects of migration in a naturally delimited research area. Foci of the PhD-project will include adult and juvenile orientation, neighbor recognition, space use and communication while other students will analyze genetic drift, bottleneck and founder effects. In addition to field observations, A. femoralis will be kept (and bred) in the Vienna lab to study kin and individual recognition based on acoustic and visual traits.