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Wren calls differ between subspecies

Cara J

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Many studies looking at evolution compare differences between big groups of animals, such as mammals versus birds, or differences between species of birds. But recently, researchers found potential evolutionary differences in vocalizations between subspecies of marsh wrens (Cistothorus palustris). “Subspecies have had much less time to accumulate differences than species. As a result, trait differences found among subspecies are more likely to play an active role in the groups’ initial split,” said Sarah Luttrell, lead author of the study published in The Auk Ornithological Advances, who was studying at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “It’s an early snapshot of what might be changing and why that might be important.” In her research, Luttrell and her colleagues studied five of the 15 marsh wren subspecies, all in the eastern portion of their range. After contacting researchers and scanning eBird, an online database of bird observations from researchers, scientists and citizen scientists, the team determined where there were large sample sizes of marsh wrens for them to study and record. They spent seven to 10 days at each site from dawn until noon. “We were sneaking as close as we could to marsh wrens, holding out our microphones and recording and [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/wren-calls-differ-between-subspecies/

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