Research interests

  • Behavioral and sensory ecology
  • Acoustic communication and cognition of mammals
  • Social and vocal learning
  • For more information visit: http://mirjam-knoernschild.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientific projects

Social and vocal complexity in Emballonurid bats

According to the Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis, the driving force in the evolution of primate intelligence is social expertise, which enables the manipulation of and cooperation with other social group members (Whiten & Byrne 1988, Whiten 1999). Social interactions require communication and interspecific differences in social complexity may explain the observed variation of vocal repertoire complexity in different species. While this proposition apparently applies to primates (Dunbar 1993), little evidence has been found so far in bats (Wilkinson 2003). This could be due to the lack of comparative studies incorporating both behavioral observations on indicators of social complexity (e.g., behavioral repertoire size, group size, composition, and stability) and genetic analyses to assess the impact of sexual selection on social complexity and, accordingly, vocal complexity.
We are testing the influence of social complexity on vocal complexity in six species of emballonurid bats (Saccopteryx bilineata, S. leptura, Rhynchonycteris naso, Balantiopteryx plicata, Cormura brevirostris, and Peropteryx kappleri). Emballonurids are a phylogenetically old family of insectivorous bats occurring in a wide range of different habitats throughout both the Old and New World Tropics. They are very suitable for field studies due to the good accessibility of their day-roosts and the readiness with which they can be habituated to human observers. One member of this family, the Greater Sac-Winged Bat Saccopteryx bilineata, has been the focus of detailed investigations for many decades and is probably one of the best studied bat species worldwide.

Publications

Rose A, Kolar M, Tschapka M, Knörnschild M (2015 online first) Learning where to feed: the use of social information in flowervisiting Pallas’ long-tongued bats (Glossophaga soricina). Anim Cogn DOI 10.1007/s10071-015-0930-9:1-12

Heim O, Treitler JT, Tschapka M, Knörnschild M, Jung K (2015) The importance of landscape elements for bat activity and species richness in agricultural areas. PLoS ONE 10:1-13

Mumm C, Knörnschild M (2014) The vocal repertoire of adult and neonate giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis). PLoS ONE 9:e112562

Fernandez A, Fasel N, Knörnschild M, Richner H (2014) When bats are boxing: aggressive behaviour and communication in male Seba's short-tailed fruit bat. Animal Behaviour 98:149-156

Knörnschild M (2014) Vocal production learning in bats. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 28:80-85

Nagy M, Knörnschild M, Günther L, Mayer F (2014) Dispersal and social organization in the Neotropical Grey sac-winged bat Balantiopteryx plicata. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 68:891–901

Knörnschild M, Feifel M, Kalko EKV (2014) Male courtship displays and vocal communication in the polygynous bat Carollia perspicillata. Behaviour 151:781–798

Simon R, Knörnschild M, Tschapka M, Schneider A, Passauer N, Kalko EKV, von Helversen O (2014) Biosonar resolving power: echo-acoustic perception of surface structures in the submillimeter range. Frontiers in Physiology 5:doi:10.3389/fphys.2014.00064

Mumm CAS, Urrutia MC, Knörnschild M (2014) Vocal individuality in contact calls of giant otters, Pteronura brasiliensis. Animal Behaviour 88:243-252

Greiner S, Nagy M, Mayer F, Knörnschild M, Hofer H, Voigt CC (2014) Sex-biased senescence in a polygynous bat species. Ethology 120:197-205.

Corman VM, Rasche A, Diallo TD, Cottontail VM, Stöcker A, Souza BFdCD, Corrêa JI, Carneiro AJB, Franke CR, Nagy M, Metz M, Knörnschild M, Kalko EKV, Ghanem SJ, Morales KDS, Salsamendi E, Spínola M, Herrler G, Voigt CC, Tschapka M, Drosten C, Drexler JF (2013) Highly diversified coronaviruses in neotropical bats. Journal of General Virology 94:1984–1994

Knörnschild M, Feifel M, Kalko EKV (2013) Mother offspring recognition in the bat Carollia perspicillata. Animal Behaviour 86:941-948

Geipel I, Kalko EKV, Wallmeyer K, Knörnschild M (2013) Postweaning maternal food provisioning in a bat with a complex hunting strategy. Animal Behaviour 85:1435-1441

Eckenweber M, Knörnschild M (2013) Social influences on territorial signalling in male greater-sac winged bats. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 67:639-648

Nagy M, Günther L, Knörnschild M, Mayer F (2013) Female-biased dispersal in a bat with a female-defence mating strategy. Molecular Ecology 22:1733-1745

Nyffeler M, Knörnschild M (2013) Bat predation by spiders. PLOS ONE 8:e58120

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, Metz M, Mayer F, von Helversen O (2012) Learned vocal group signatures in the polygynous bat Saccopteryx bilineata. Animal Behaviour 84:761-769

Knörnschild M, Tschapka M (2012) Predator mobbing behaviour in the Greater Spear-Nosed Bat, Phyllostomus hastatus. Chiroptera Neotropical 18:1132-1135

Gonzalez-Terrazas TP, Medellin R, Knörnschild M, Tschapka M (2012) Morphological specialization influences nectar extraction efficiency of sympatric nectar-feeding bats. J Exp Biol 215:3989-3996

Knörnschild M, Jung K, Nagy M, Metz M, Kalko EKV (2012) Bat echolocation calls facilitate social communication. Proc R Soc B 279:4827-4835

Nagy M, Knörnschild M, Voigt CC, Mayer F (2012) Male greater sac-winged bats gain direct fitness benefits when roosting in multimale colonies. Behavioral Ecology 23:597-606

Fulmer AG, Knörnschild M (2011) Intracolonial social distance, signaling modality and association choice in the greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata). J Ethol 30:117-124

Knörnschild M, Ueberschaer K, Helbig M, Kalko EKV (2011) Sexually selected infanticide in a polygynous bat. PLoS ONE 6:e25001

Knörnschild M, Fulmer AG, von Helversen O (2010) Duration of courtship displays correspond to social status in male greater sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata). Can J Zool 88:589-594

Knörnschild M, Glöckner V, von Helversen O (2010) The vocal repertoire of two sympatric species of nectar-feeding bats (Glossophaga soricina and G . commissarisi). Acta Chiropterologica 12:205-215

Strauss M, von Helversen O, Knörnschild M (2010) The ontogeny of courtship behaviours in bat pups (Saccopteryx bilineata). Behaviour 147:661-676

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, Metz M, Mayer F, von Helversen O (2010) Complex vocal imitation during ontogeny in a bat. Biology Letters 6:156-159

Knörnschild M, Harview C, Moseley R, von Helversen O (2009) Remaining cryptic during motion - behavioral synchrony in the proboscis bat, Rhynchonycteris naso. Acta Chiropterologica 11(1):208-211

Behr O, Knörnschild M, von Helversen O (2009) Territorial counter-singing in male sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata): low frequency songs trigger a stronger response. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63:433-442

Voigt C, Behr O, Caspers B, von Helversen O, Knörnschild M, Mayer F, Nagy M (2008) Songs, scents, and senses: Sexual selection in the greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. Journal of Mammalogy 89:1401-1410

Knörnschild M, von Helversen O (2008) Non-mutual vocal mother-pup recognition in the sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. Animal Behaviour 76(3):1001-1009

Knörnschild M, von Helversen O, Mayer F (2007) Twin siblings sound alike – isolation call variation in the Noctule bat, Nyctalus noctula. Animal Behaviour 74(4):1055-1063

Knörnschild M, Behr O, von Helversen O (2006) Babbling behavior in the sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata). Naturwissenschaften 93(9):451-455

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, Metz M, Mayer F, von Helversen O (2012) Learned vocal group signatures in the polygynous bat Saccopteryx bilineata. Animal Behaviour 84:761-769

Conference contributions

Mumm C, Urrutia MC, Knörnschild M (2013) Vocal individuality in cohesion calls of giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis). Poster presented at the Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö), Vienna, April 2-5, 2013

Geipel I, Kalko EKV, Wallmeyer K, Knörnschild M (2013) Hey Mom, what’s for dinner? Parental food provisioning in a bat with a complex hunting strategy. Talk presented at the Workgroup Meeting of German bat Researchers, Rottenburg-Ergenzingen, Germany, 11.-13.01.2013

Mumm CAS, Chunga AML, Tschapka M, Knörnschild M (2012) Avances del estudio "El repertorio vocal de los lobos de río (Pteronura brasiliensis). Talk presented at the III Congreso de la Sociedad Peruana de Mastozoología, Píura, Peru, 14.-18.Okt. 2012

Gonzalez-Terrazas TP, Medellín RA, Knörnschild M, Tschapka M (2012) Morphological specialization influences nectar extraction efficiency of sympatric nectar-feeding bats. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö), Erlangen, Germany, February 22 – 25, 2012

Geipel I, Kalko E, Knörnschild M (2012) Hey Mom, what’s for dinner? Parental food provisioning in bats with a complex hunting strategy. Talk presented at the VIth European Conference on Behavioural Biology, ECBB, Essen, Germany, 19 - 22 July

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, von Helversen O (2010) Learned vocal group signatures in a polygynous bat. 15th International Bat Research Conference (IBRC), Prague, Czech Republic.

Knörnschild M, Nagy M (2010) Learned vocal group signatures in the bat Saccopteryx bilineata. Communication Meeting, Berlin, Deutschland.

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, Helversen Ov (2010) Vocal learning in a bat - the case study Saccopteryx bilineata. 84th Annual Meeting of the German-Society-of-Mammalogy, Berlin, GERMANY, September 12 -16, 201

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, von Helversen O. 2009. Vocal learning in a bat (poster). 1. Joint Meeting of ATBC (Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation) and GTÖ (Society for Tropical Ecology), Marburg, Germany.

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, von Helversen O. 2008. Vocal repertoire ontogeny in the bat Saccopteryx bilineata – evidence for vocal learning. 2. Acoustic Communication by Animals Conference, Corvallis, USA.

Knörnschild M, von Helversen O. 2007. Isolation calls and their role during vocal repertoire ontogeny in the greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. 14. International Bat Research Conference (IBRC) and 37. North American Symposium on Bat Research (NASBR). Merída, Mexico.

Knörnschild M, von Helversen O. 2007. Emotional prosody in social vocalizations of the greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. International Symposium on the Evolution of Emotional Communication (EEC), Hannover, Germany.

Knörnschild M, von Helversen O. 2007. When twins sound alike – isolation call variation in the Noctule Bat, Nyctalus noctula. Graduate Meeting of the DZG Group Behavioural Ecology, Göttingen, Germany.

Knörnschild M, Nagy M, Helversen Ov (2010) Learned vocal signatures in a polygynous bat. 15th International Bat Research Conference, 23.-27. August 2010, Prague, Czech Republic

Knörnschild M (2011) Vocal signatures in Saccopteryx bilineata - Insights from a vocal learning bat. XXIII Meeting of the International Bioacoustics Council (IBAC), La Rochelle, France.

Knörnschild M, Jung K, Kalko EKV (2011) Communication on the wing: vocal signatures in echolocation calls of the greater sac-winged bat. 3rd Symposium on Acoustic Communication by Animals, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA.

Knörnschild M, Behler C, Tschapka M (2011) Vocal communication in Glossophaga soricin - Alert calls and territoriality. German Bat Researcher Meeting, Loccum, Germany.

Mumm CAS, Urrutia C, Chunga AML, Tschapka M, Knörnschild M (2012) Avances del estudio "Comunicación acústica de los lobos de río (Pteronura brasiliensis) como herramienta de conservación natural. Talk presented at the Congreso Regional: Investigación y Monitoreo Biológico en Áreas Naturales Protegidas y Corredores de Conservación – Madre de Dios, Perú, 24 y 25 de Mayo - 2012

Contact

    PD Dr. Mirjam Knörnschild
    Freie Universität Berlin
    Verhaltensbiologie
    Takustr. 6
    14195 Berlin
    Tel: +49 151 22 325756
    Email: mirjam.knoernschild()gmail.com