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Bat Behavioral Strategies for Improving Sonar Performance in Groups
August 29, 2017 • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Department of Biology Seminar
Presented by Dr. Michael S. Smotherman, Dept. of Biology, Texas A&M University
Abstract: Bats emit loud ultrasonic sonar cries at rates of 15 to 50 pulses per second, while flying at speeds up to 6 meters per second through narrow caves and cluttered forest habitats. Bats are also highly social, often flying in dense streams and swarms, and how bats manage to navigate by sonar while also hearing the pulses and echoes of many nearby bats has been a long-standing mystery. In this talk, I will present the results of our behavioral studies of how bats adapt their sonar strategies when flying in groups. We solved this mystery by applying insights from communications network theory to sonar systems, providing answers that have important implications for understanding bat ecology and evolution and also leading the way towards bio-inspired improvements of artificial sonar systems.