Acoustic communication in alpacas
Honours projects are available to investigate vocal communication of alpacas in the context of its group’s social behaviour.
Living in social groups has several benefits for each individual that is part of the group. Examples of benefits include increased protection from predators due to shared vigilance, and access to social information about foraging locations. Individuals can best exploit those benefits when they coordinate their behaviour.
Acoustic communication is one way to achieve this - e.g. through alarm calls that warn other individuals about the presence of predators, or through movement calls to recruit others when leaving a foraging patch as a group.
This honours project will investigate the vocal communication in alpacas in three different contexts. It aims to describe three vocalisation types that all have implications for the social behaviour of the group living alpaca.
You will identify and describe
- alarm calls in response to predator presence;
- movement calls before group departures; and
- vocalisations during aggressive behaviour.
You will investigate those communication calls in the context of the group’s social behaviour.
The project will be based at Roseworthy campus. We will equip the alpacas with voice recording devices attached to their halters. These recordings will form the basis of the study. Further, we will also video record individual behaviours, as well as group behaviour which will provide the information on the behavioural context.
If you are interested in the topic please contact Stephan Leu to discuss the project. firstname.lastname@example.org
Study animal behaviour
I am interested in animal behaviour in an ecological and evolutionary framework. I investigate question about the emergence, maintenance and consequences of social structure in animal populations. My research integrates animal social networks, movement ecology and disease ecology. For details see my researcher profile and my website.
If you are particularly interested in these areas please contact me to discuss other project ideas - Stephan.