Acoustic cues to individual identity in the American Pika (Ochotona princeps)
Our research focused on potential voice characteristics, or individual identity cues, in the vocalizations of American pika (Ochotona princeps). Past research indicates that pika produce squeak calls, which may contain cues to individual identity, aiding in territory protection. We recorded pika vocals from a population of individuals in the Highwood region of Kananaskis, AB. Data suggests these calls do contain acoustic features that should allow individuals to recognize each other by sound alone. This provides us with a better understanding of territorial behaviour in pika. Because pika live in high alpine scree locations they are key indicators of the effects of climate change. Therefore, any exploration into their behaviour may aid in understanding the potential effects of climate change on this species and perhaps alpine species more generally.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shannon Digweed
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