Bond Graph Modeling of Frog Vocal Production

date April 4, 2014
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Friday, April 4, 2014 4:00 p.m. ETC 4.150

Professor Nicole M. Kime
Department of Biological Sciences
Edgewood University

The túngara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus, is a well-known model for investigating the evolution of acoustic communication. All male frogs in the genus Physalaemus produce a species-specific “whine”. Túngara frogs and some populations of its sister species, P. petersi, also produce a second complex call component, a “chuck” or “squawk” that relies upon the presence of an enlarged fibrous mass that extends from the vocal folds. Females generally prefer complex calls to simpler whines. The evolution of laryngeal morphology has thus been influenced by sexual selection. In spite of evidence for a correlation between structure and function, the mechanism by which the fibrous mass interacts with other elements of the vocal system during the production of whines and chucks remains unknown. We have recently been using bond graphs, a lumped element modeling technique, to investigate the biomechanics of vocal production in túngara frogs. These models explore the production of whines and chucks, the mechanics of the fibrous mass, and interactions between different components of the frog vocal system. A bond graph approach to vocal system modeling will be advantageous to understanding the evolution of groups of morphological traits within the integrated vocal systems in a variety of animals.