My present research interests deal
with acoustic communication networks in birds and species-specific
acoustic signatures in ants.
I was very happy to supervise the PhD research of Elodie Briefer
on the coding-decoding systems of group and individual identities
in skylarks. Skylarks constitute an ideal model for studying
acoustic rules signing group identity. Males hold adjacent territories
and produce one of the most complex song in Oscines to defend
them. The territories are gathered in discrete patches due to
the heterogeneity of the habitat, and the spatial distribution
of the birds is associated to a micro-dialect phenomenon. We
studied the relationships of males belonging to the same micro-dialect
area and the discrimination of familiar (neighbours) and non-familiar
(strangers) individuals. Elodie found very interesting results
and working with her was a pleasure!
At the moment I am also strongly interested
by the acoustic communication system of a non-oscine bird,
the houbara bustards. Males display a courtship behaviour
including visual and acoustic signals on particular field
sites, spaced by hundred of meters. They produce of a very
low frequency sound by “booming” which can potentially
propagate at very long distance. Our aim is to study the function
of this booming sound in intra-sexual competition and in inter-sexual
Keeping in touch with my former
animals of interest (I used to study Drosophila courtship
song for my PhD), I am also involved in the supervising of
the PhD project of Ronara Suza Ferreira about sounds produced
by stridulation in ants of the genus Pachycondyla. We study
the acoustic signals along the whole transmission channel
of information, from their production to their reception.
Furthermore, as the taxonomy of the Pachycondyla apicalis
species complex is an unsettled problem, we study if the morphometry
of the stridulatory apparatus and the acoustic parameters
of the stridulations of these ants could serve as a tool for
discriminating cryptic taxa.
Current Projects & Collaborations
- Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation (ECWP, Missour,
Morocco, Y. Hingrat) : Acoustic
communication in houbara bustards.
- Laboratoire d’Ethologie Expérimentale
et Comparée (LEEC, CNRS UMR7153, Université
Paris 13, D. Fresneau & R. Suza Ferreira) : Stridulations
in ants Pachycondyla
- Lectures and practical in
Animal Biology and Behavioural Biology from L1 to M2 level.
- Administrative and pedagogic responsibilities for the following
* Biol 150 : Structures and functions
: from cell to organ (1st year of undergraduate)
* Biol 152 : Ethology (1st year of
* Biol 364 : Practical in the field
in Biology and Geology (3rd year of undergraduate)
Some Selected Publications
Briefer, E., Rybak, F. and Aubin, T. (2013) The role of shared
phrases in skylark song: true syntax or simple auditory object?
Linossier, J., Rybak, F., Aubin, T. and Geberzahn N. (2013)
Flight phases in the song of skylarks: impact on acoustic
parameters and coding strategy. PLoS ONE e72768 ; doi:10.1371/j.pone.0072768
Briefer E., Rybak F. and Aubin T. (2008). When to be a dear-enemy
: Flexible acoustic relationships of neighbouring skylarks
Alauda arvensis. Animal Behaviour. In press
Briefer E., Aubin T., Lehongre K.
and Rybak F., 2008. How to identify dear enemies: the group
signature in the complex song of the skylark Alauda arvensis.
Journal of Experimental Biology, 211: 317-326.