A sensorimotor model shows why a spectral jamming avoidance response does not help bats deal with jamming

Omer Mazar*, Yossi Yovel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For decades, researchers have speculated how echolocating bats deal with masking by conspecific calls when flying in aggregations. To date, only a few attempts have been made to mathematically quantify the probability of jamming, or its effects. We developed a comprehensive sensorimotor predator-prey simulation, modeling numerous bats foraging in proximity. We used this model to examine the effectiveness of a spectral Jamming Avoidance Response (JAR) as a solution for the masking problem. We found that foraging performance deteriorates when bats forage near conspecifics, however, applying a JAR does not improve insect sensing or capture. Because bats constantly adjust their echolocation to the performed task (even when flying alone), further shifting the signals’ frequencies does not mitigate jamming. Our simulations explain how bats can hunt successfully in a group despite competition and despite potential masking. This research demonstrates the advantages of a modeling approach when examining a complex biological system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55539
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournaleLife
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

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