Assistant Professor of Biology Jen Hamel and current Elon student Alina Iwan '19 co-authored a research presentation for the 2nd International Symposium on Biotermology in Riva del Garda, Italy.
Assistant Professor of Biology Jen Hamel and current Elon student Alina Iwan ’19 co-authored a research presentation on insect communication for the 2nd International Symposium on Biotermology in Riva del Garda, Italy. The poster was titled, “Calling, courtship, and postmating tremulations in a Neotropical katydid” and was presented by Ciara Kernan, a doctoral student at Dartmouth College. Co-authors were Kernan, Hamel, Iwan, and Hannah ter Hofstede of Dartmouth College.
The presentation summarized findings by the team from recent work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. Hamel and her research students have been collaborating with ter Hofstede’s research group to study vibrational communication in Neotropical katydids on BCI.
Katydids are insects in the same broad group as crickets and grasshoppers, and they are known for “chirping” and producing a loud night-time chorus in the southeastern U.S. Although these insects are more diverse and abundant in the tropics, they produce less airborne sound than their temperate counterparts. In addition to chirping, individuals of some species shake the branches or leaves on which they perch. This behavior, called “tremulating,” produces low-frequency, substrate-borne vibrations that appear to be species-specific.
Hamel and her students have been characterizing the substrate-borne vibrational signals of about a dozen species that they recorded in Panama during Winter Term 2018. Kernan presented their work for one focal species (Docidocercus gigliotosi), for which she had also collected behavioral data in the field.
The International Symposium on Biotremology is a specialized conference attended by leading researchers in animal communication.