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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 Animal Communication Lab, we use anuran amphibians (frogs and toads) as model organisms to investigate acoustic communication because they are among the most vocal of all vertebrates. In frogs, acoustic communication plays important roles in species recognition and sexual selection (female mate choice and male-male competition). 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

Schrode KM, Ward JL, Vélez A and Bee MA (2012) Female preferences for spectral call properties in the western genetic lineage of Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66, 1595-1606.

Vélez A, Höbel G, Gordon NM & Bee MA (2012) Dip listening or modulation masking? Call recognition by green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) in temporally fluctuating noise. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 198, 891-904.

Vélez A & Bee MA (in press) Signal recognition by green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) and Cope’s gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) in naturally fluctuating noise. Journal of Comparative Psychology.

Bee MA, Suyesh R, and Biju SD (in press) The vocal repertoire of Pseudophilautus kani, a shrub frog (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from the Western Ghats of India. Bioacoustics.

Schwartz JJ, Bee MA (in press) Anuran acoustic signal production in noisy environments. In: Brumm H (ed) Animal Communication and Noise. Springer: New York.

Vélez A, Schwartz JJ, Bee MA (in press) Anuran acoustic signal perception in noisy environments. In: Brumm H (ed) Animal Communication and Noise. Springer: New York.

Pettitt BA, Bourne GR, and Bee MA (2012) Quantitative analysis of the vocal repertoire of the golden rocket frog (Anomaloglossus beebei). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 31, 4811-4820.

Bee MA, Vélez A & Forester JD (2012) Sound level discrimination by gray treefrogs in the presence and absence of chorus-shaped noise. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131, 4188-4195.

Bee MA (2012) Sound source perception in anuran amphibians. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 22, 301-310.

Nityananda V & Bee MA (2012) Spatial release from masking in a free-field source identification task by gray treefrogs. Hearing Research, 285, 86-97.

Miller CT & Bee MA (2012) Receiver psychology turns 20: Is it time for a broader approach? Animal Behaviour, 83, 331-343.

Vélez A & Bee MA (2011) Dip listening and the cocktail party problem in grey treefrogs: signal recognition in temporally fluctuating noise. Animal Behaviour, 82, 1319-1327.

Nityananda V & Bee MA (2011) Finding your mate at a cocktail party: frequency separation promotes auditory stream segregation of concurrent voices in multi-species frog choruses. PLoS ONE, 6, e21191.

Bee MA (2010) Spectral preferences and the role of spatial coherence in simultaneous integration in gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 124, 412-424.

Vélez A and Bee MA (2010) Signal recognition by frogs in the presence of temporally fluctuating chorus-shaped noise. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64, 1695-1709.

Love EK and Bee MA (2010)  An experimental test of noise-dependent voice amplitude regulation in Cope's grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)  Animal Behaviour, 80, 509-515.

Kuczynski M, Vélez A, Schwartz JJ, and Bee MA (2010) Sound transmission and the recognition of temporally degraded call structure in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis).  Journal of Experimental Biology, 213, 2840-2850.

Seeba F, Schwartz JJ, and Bee MA (2010) Testing an auditory illusion in frogs: Perceptual restoration or rule-based sensory biases? Animal Behaviour, 79, 1317-1328.

Bee MA, Cook JM, Love EK, O'Bryan LR, Pettitt BA, Schrode K, and Vélez A (2010) Assessing acoustic signal variability and the potential for sexual selection and social recognition in boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata). Ethology, 116, 564-576.

Additional Links

Animal Communication Lab Homepage

Minnesota Behavior Group

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

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