The role of nonlinear dynamics of the syrinx in the vocalizations of a songbird

Fee, M. S., Shraiman, B., Pesaran, B., Mitra, P. P. (1998) The role of nonlinear dynamics of the syrinx in the vocalizations of a songbird. Nature, 395 (6697). pp. 67-71. ISSN 00280836 (ISSN)

DOI: 10.1038/25725


Birdsong is characterized by the modulation of sound properties over a wide range of timescales. Understanding the mechanisms by which the brain organizes this complex temporal behaviour is a central motivation in the study of the song control and learning system. Here we present evidence that, in addition to central neural control, a further level of temporal organization is provided by nonlinear oscillatory dynamics that are intrinsic to the avian vocal organ. A detailed temporal and spectral examination of song of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) reveals a class of rapid song modulations that are consistent with transitions in the dynamical state of the syrinx. Furthermore, in vitro experiments show that the syrinx can produce a sequence of oscillatory states that are both spectrally and temporally complex in response to the slow variation of respiratory or syringeal parameters. As a consequence, simple variations in a small number of neural signals can result in a complex acoustic sequence.

Item Type: Paper
Additional Information: PubMed ID: 12071206
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal behavior article bird dynamics functional anatomy modulation nonhuman oscillation priority journal singing sound vocalization Animals Bronchi Male Models Biological Nonlinear Dynamics Oscillometry Songbirds Trachea Video Recording Vocalization Animal
Subjects: physics > biophysics
organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal > bird
organism description > animal behavior > song
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Mitra lab
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: 1998
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2012 18:35
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2019 13:38
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