Vibration as a Communication Channel Symposium

4 January, 2001 Chicago


Computers and hardware such as the geophone, used to listen for footfalls in the jungles of Vietnam, now allow researchers to answer increasingly sophisticated questions about how animals send and receive signals.  Scientists have known for some time that leafcutter ants use vibration to recruit foragers, or to signal for help when buried alive, but the use of vibration in animal communication is much more ubiquitous than previously thought. It occurs in insects, frogs, kangaroo rats, elephants and bison. This symposium hosted by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) at its annual meeting, January 3-7, 2001, in Chicago will bring together ten scientists and engineers from the U.S. and Austria for the first meeting to share research on vibration signals. Talks will describe use of vibration in predator defense, prey detection, recruitment to food, mating behavior, and maternal/brood social interactions, as well as synthetic signals sent back to animals, and channels through which signals are gathered and processed.  The speakers are males and females from all academic ranks, engineers and biologists, field and lab specialists.  The symposium is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Animal Behavior Society (ABS).


            In addition to the symposium, poster and paper sessions will be available for students and others with interests in vibration.  A reception hosted by the SICB's Division of Animal Behavior will encourage informal discussions with the symposium speakers.





8:00-8:40 am           Vibration and animal communication: a review               Peggy S. M. Hill

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

 The University of Tulsa


8:40-9:20                Exploring the possibility of low-frequency                      Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell

seismic communication in elephants and                         Center for Conservation Biology

other large mammals                                                             Stanford University


9:20-10:00                Why do desert rodents drum their feet?                         Janet Randall

Professor of Biology

San Francisco State University

10:00-10:20                BREAK


10:20-11:00                Vibrational communication and the ecology               Reginald Cocroft

of group-living insects                                                       Assistant Professor of Biology

                                                                                                University of Missouri-Columbia


11:00-11:40                Vibration sensitivity and prey-localizing                      Philip Brownell              

behavior of sand scorpions                                                Professor of Zoology

Oregon State University               



1:00-1:40             Do white-lipped frogs use seismic signals for                   Edwin R. Lewis

intraspecific communication?                                             Professor in the Graduate School

Electrical Engineering/ Computer Sciences

University of California-Berkeley


1:40-2:20             Talking back: sending soil vibration signals                      John R. Shadley

to lekking prairie mole cricket males                                   Professor of Mechanical Engineering

The University of Tulsa


2:20-3:00               Good vibrations: seismic signal use by                             Peter Narins

fossorial mammals                                                                Professor of Physiological Science

University of California-Los Angeles


3:00-3:20 BREAK


3:20-4:00              Vibration and behavior: the shaky world of spiders         Friedrich Barth

Institut für Zoologie

Universität Wien


4:00-4:40             Mating behavior in leafhoppers and treehoppers:             Randy Hunt

involvement of vibrational signals in male-male             Assistant Professor of Biology

Indiana University Southeast


4:40-5:00                Summary and Discussion                                                      Peggy Hill


For further information, please contact Dr. Peggy Hill at 918-631-2992, or by e-mail <>.