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Mark Bee



Ph.D., University of Missouri, 2001

Graduate Faculty Memberships

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
Graduate Program in Neuroscience


In the Acoustic Communication Lab, our mission is to answer fundamental questions about how and why animals use acoustic signals to convey information to other individuals in biologically important contexts, such as social and reproductive interactions. To accomplish this mission, we integrate behavioral, bioacoustic, biophysical, psychophysical, and neurophysiological approaches to test hypotheses about the mechanisms, function, and evolution of acoustic communication systems. We also focus our investigations on frogs, because they are among the most vocal of all vertebrates. In frogs, acoustic communication plays important roles in species recognition and sexual selection. We are particularly interested in understanding the role of communication in mediating female mate choice and male-male competition, and the operation of communication in social environments that are extremely noisy and both temporally and spatially variable. Frogs offer powerful model systems for addressing these questions because (i) male frogs signal in large breeding aggregations, they use acoustic signals to defend calling sites, and they have a relatively small repertoire of stereotyped acoustic signals; (ii) female frogs choose mates based primarily on the acoustic properties of male signals; (iii) both male and female frogs are amenable to field and laboratory playback studies using real and computer-generated signals; and (iv) acoustic communication in frogs can be studied at multiple levels, from broad evolutionary patterns to the responses of single neurons. Our research asks questions at all of these multiple levels.

Selected Publications

Tumulty JP, Bee MA (in press) Ecological and social drivers of neighbor recognition and the dear enemy effect in a Neotropical frog. Behavioral Ecology.

Christensen-Dalsgaard J, Lee N, Bee MA (2020) Lung-to-ear sound transmission does not improve directional hearing in green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea). Journal of Experimental Biology, 20, jeb232421.

Gupta S, Bee MA (2020) Treefrogs exploit temporal coherence to form perceptual objects of communication signals. Biology Letters, 16: 20200573.

Gupta S, Marchetto PM, Bee MA (2020) Customizable Recorder of Animal Kinesis (CRoAK): A multi-axis instrumented enclosure for measuring animal movements. HardwareX, 8: e00116.

LaBarbera K, Nelson PB, Bee MA (2020). Mate choice and the “opposite miss” to Weber’s Law: Proportional processing governs signal preferences in a treefrog. Animal Behaviour, 168, 199-209.

Rose GJ, Leary CJ, Bee MA (2020) Anuran auditory systems as models for understanding sensory processing and the evolution of communication. In: The Senses: A Comprehensive Reference, Second Edition, Volume 2 (Fritzsch B, editor; Grothe B., section editor), New York: Academic Press, pp. 138-148.

Pettitt BA, Bourne GR, Bee MA (2020) Females prefer the calls of better fathers in a Neotropical frog with biparental care. Behavioral Ecology, 31, 152-163.

Tanner JC, Justison, JA, Bee MA (2020) SynSing: Open-source MATLAB code for generating synthetic signals in studies of animal acoustic communication. Bioacoustics 29:731-752.

Tanner JC, Bee MA (2020) Inconsistent sexual signaling degrades optimal mating decisions in animals. Science Advances, 6(20): eaax3957.

Tanner JC, Bee MA (2020) Species recognition is constrained by chorus noise, but not inconsistency in signal production, in Cope’s gray treefrog. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8: 256.

Tanner, J. C. and M. A. Bee. 2020. Inconsistent sexual signaling degrades optimal mating decisions in animals. Science Advances, 6(20):eaax3957.

Pettitt, B.A., G. R. Bourne, and M. A. Bee. 2020. Females prefer the calls of better fathers in a Neotropical frog with biparental care. Behavioral Ecology, 31, 152-163.

Baugh, A. T., M. A. Bee, and M. D. Gall. 2019. The paradox of hearing at the lek: auditory sensitivity increases after breeding in female gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 205, 629–639.

Gall, M .D., M. A. Bee, and A. T. Baugh. 2019. The difference a day makes: breeding remodels hearing, hormones and behavior in female Cope's gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis). Hormones and Behavior, 108, 62-72.

Tanner, J. C., and M. A. Bee. 2019. Within-individual variation in sexual displays: signal or noise? Behavioral Ecology, 30, 80-91.

Pettitt, B. A., G. R. Bourne, and M. A. Bee. 2018. Predictors and benefits of microhabitat selection for offspring deposition in golden rocket frogs. Biotropica, 50, 919–928 2018.

Bee, M. A., and A. Vélez. 2018. Masking release in temporally fluctuating noise depends on comodulation and overall level in Cope’s gray treefrog. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144, 2354-2362.

Dent, M. L., and M. A. Bee. 2018. Principles of auditory object formation by nonhuman animals. In: Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Animals (eds. H. Slabbekoorn, R. J. Dooling, A. N. Popper, and R. R. Fay). New York: Springer, pp. 47-82.

McGregor, P. K., and M. A. Bee. 2018. Where, who, and when? Key drivers of territorial responses: a comment on Christensen and Radford. Behavioral Ecology, 29, 1014.

Tumulty, J. P., A. Pašukonis, M. Ringler, J. D. Forester, W. Hödl, and M. A. Bee. 2018. Brilliant-thighed poison frogs do not use acoustic identity information to treat territorial neighbours as dear enemies. Animal Behaviour, 141, 203-220.

Lee, N., K. M. Schrode, and M. A. Bee. 2017. Nonlinear processing of a multicomponent communication signal by combination-sensitive neurons in the anuran inferior colliculus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 203, 749-772.

Tanner, J. C., J. L. Ward, R. G. Shaw, and M. A. Bee. 2017. Multivariate phenotypic selection on a complex sexual signal. Evolution, 71, 1742-1754.

Vélez, A., N. M. Gordon, and M. A. Bee. 2017. The signal in noise: acoustic information use for soundscape orientation in two North American treefrogs. Behavioral Ecology, 28, 844-853.

Lee, N., J. L. Ward, A. Vélez, C. Micheyl, and M. A. Bee. 2017. Frogs exploit statistical regularities in noisy acoustic scenes to solve cocktail-party-like problems. Current Biology, 27, 743-750.

Zuk, M., J. C. Tanner, E. Schmidtman, M. A. Bee, S. Balenger. 2017. Calls of recently introduced coquí frogs do not interfere with cricket phonotaxis in Hawaii. Journal of Insect Behavior, 30, 60-69.

Chuang, M-F, Y-C Kam, and M. A. Bee. 2017. Territorial olive frogs display lower aggression towards neighbours than strangers based on individual vocal signatures. Animal Behaviour, 123, 217-228.

Bee, M. A., and C. T. Miller. 2016. Psychological Mechanisms in Animal Communication. Series: Animal Signals and Communication (V. T. Janik and P. K. McGregor, series editors), 320 pp. New York: Springer.

Bee, M. A., and C. T. Miller. 2016. Signaler and receiver psychology. In: Psychological Mechanisms in Animal Communication (eds. M. A. Bee and C. T. Miller), pp. 1-16. New York: Springer.

Bee, M. A. 2016. Social recognition in anurans. In: Psychological Mechanisms in Animal Communication (eds. Bee, M. A.,  and Miller, C. T.), pp. 169-221. New York: Springer.

Bee, M. A., J. Christensen-Dalsgaard. 2016. Sound source localization and segregation with internally coupled ears: The treefrog model. Biological Cybernetics, 110, 271-290.

Brumm, H., and M. A. Bee. 2016. A meta-analytic castle built on sand?: A Comment on Roca et al. Behavioral Ecology 27, 1277–1278.

Caldwell, M. S., N. Lee, and M. A. Bee. 2016. Inherent directionality determines spatial release from masking at the tympanum in a vertebrate with internally coupled ears. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 17, 259-270.

Willaert, B., R. Suyesh, S. Garg, V. B. Giri, M. A. Bee, S. D. Biju. 2016. A unique mating strategy without physical contact during fertilization in Bombay Night Frogs (Nyctibatrachus humayuni) with the description of a new form of amplexus and female call. PeerJ 4:e2117.

Bee, M.A., M. S. Reichert, and J. Tumulty. 2016. Assessment and recognition of rivals in anuran contests. Advances in the Study of Behavior, 48, 161-249.

Baugh, A. T., M. J. Ryan, X. Bernal, A. S. Rand, and M. A. Bee. 2016. Female túngara frogs do not experience the continuity illusion. Behavioral Neuroscience, 130, 62-74.

Chuang, M-F, Y-C Kam, and M. A. Bee. 2016. Quantitative description of the vocal repertoire of the territorial olive frog, Babina adenopleura, from Taiwan. Bioacoustics, 25, 1-18.

Kershenbaum, A., D. T. Blumstein, M. A. Roch, Ç. Akçay, G. Backus, and M. A. Bee (+37 more) 2016. Acoustic sequences in non-human animals: A tutorial review and prospectus. Biological Reviews, 91, 13-52.

Additional Links

Animal Communication Lab Homepage

612-624-6749 Fax: 612-624-6777

100 Ecology
1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108