We planted a tree… Identity Tree of Life

The “Evolution of identity signaling in vocalizations” project aims to investigate how identity information in calls varies between species and which biological and ecological factors do influence the level of identity information in calls. Of course, we plan to do a formal research analysis but, also, we would like to summarize what dozens of researchers were after in their studies of acoustic individuality in some attractive way for a public audience.

OneZoom Identity Seedling

So… we planted a tree. A tree that will allow people to experience individual differences in calls of many different species which were investigated. The tree represents phylogenetic relationships between species that were studied. The colour of the leaves represents the level of individuality found for a particular species. Each species account will be associated with sound example of the individuality. Three call examples from three different individuals will allow people to hear variation in calls and judge for themselves: How difficult would it be to distinguish between individuals? Calls are further accompanied by spectrograms which visualize the differences between individuals. Also, there is a credit to the authors of sounds and pictures.

Here is the link showing a seedling of that tree: Individual Identity Tree of Life

For now, there are just two species in a tree. However, we will help the tree grow and, eventually, we hope the tree will cover over two hundred species in which the individual identity was investigated (mostly birds and mammals). We plan to ask researchers to contribute the original recordings from their published studies and when this would not be possible we plan to search sound archives and web resources to get examples of calls from each species.

So let the tree grow! The final tree will be on display online. It will be open-source and will be available to museums and other institutions that might like to use it for their purposes.

The tree is constructed using the excellent OneZoom Tree of Life Explorer.

Author: Pavel Linhart

Animal Behaviour / Acoustic communication researcher. Polonez Fellow at Adam Mickiewicz University

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