Carel ten Cate

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A core area of speciation research concerns the coevolution of species-specific signals and the selective sensitivity to such signals. Signals and responses to them should be tuned to each other, to be effective in intraspecific communication. Hybrid zones are ideal to study the presence of such 'behavioural coupling' and the mechanisms governing it, and(More)
The underwater environment is filled with biotic and abiotic sounds, many of which can be important for the survival and reproduction of fish. Over the last century, human activities in and near the water have increasingly added artificial sounds to this environment. Very loud sounds of relatively short exposure, such as those produced during pile driving,(More)
The domain of syntax is seen as the core of the language faculty and as the most critical difference between animal vocalizations and language. We review evidence from spontaneously produced vocalizations as well as from perceptual experiments using artificial grammars to analyse animal syntactic abilities, i.e. abilities to produce and perceive patterns(More)
Many animal species communicate with their mates through acoustic signals, but this communication seems to become a struggle in urbanized areas because of increasing anthropogenic noise levels. Several bird species have been reported to increase song frequency by which they reduce the masking impact of spectrally overlapping noise. However, it remains(More)
Perceptual biases can shape the evolution of signal form. Understanding the origin and direction of such biases is therefore crucial for understanding signal evolution. Many animals learn about species-specific signals. Discrimination learning using simple stimuli varying in one dimension (e.g. amplitude, wavelength) can result in perceptual biases with(More)
Birdsong assumes its complex and specific forms by the modulation of phonation in frequency and time domains. The organization of control mechanisms and intrinsic properties causing such modulation have been studied in songbirds but much less so in non-songbirds, the songs of which are often regarded as relatively simple. We examined mechanisms of frequency(More)
According to a controversial hypothesis, a characteristic unique to human language is recursion. Contradicting this hypothesis, it has been claimed that the starling, one of the two animal species tested for this ability to date, is able to distinguish acoustic stimuli based on the presence or absence of a center-embedded recursive structure. In our(More)
Pure-tone song is a common and widespread phenomenon in birds. The mechanistic origin of this type of phonation has been the subject of long-standing discussion. Currently, there are three hypotheses. (i) A vibrating valve in the avian vocal organ, the syrinx, generates a multifrequency harmonic source sound, which is filtered to a pure tone by a vocal(More)
It is now well established that signal receivers have a key role in the evolution of animal communication: the suite of sensory and cognitive processes by which animals perceive and learn about their environment can have a significant impact on signal design. A crucial property of these information-processing mechanisms is the emergence of 'receiver bias'(More)
Learning processes potentially play a role in speciation but are often ignored in speciation models. Learning may, for instance, play a role when a new niche is being colonized, because the learning of niche features may cause niche-specific assortative mating and a tendency to produce young in this niche. Several animal species learn about their(More)