Species interactions and the structure of complex communication networks.
Tobias JA., Planqué R., Cram DL., Seddon N.
A universal challenge faced by animal species is the need to communicate effectively against a backdrop of heterospecific signals. It is often assumed that this need results in signal divergence to minimize interference among community members, yet previous support for this idea is mixed, and few studies have tested the opposing hypothesis that interactions among competing species promote widespread convergence in signaling regimes. Using a null model approach to analyze acoustic signaling in 307 species of Amazonian birds, we show that closely related lineages signal together in time and space and that acoustic signals given in temporal or spatial proximity are more similar in design than expected by chance. These results challenge the view that multispecies choruses are structured by temporal, spatial, or acoustic partitioning and instead suggest that social communication between competing species can fundamentally organize signaling assemblages, leading to the opposite pattern of clustering in signals and signaling behavior.