Solveig Mouterde

PhD student - Univ. J. Monnet

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Université Jean Monnet
UMR 8195
23 rue Michelon, 42023 St Etienne

Research interest

One of the challenges of research in vocal communication in birds is to understand how complex sounds, particularly vocalizations, are represented in the auditory system and how these representations are adapted to specific ecological and social constraints. Focusing on mate recognition in a songbird model, the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata, my PhD project aims to investigate the ability of communication calls to secure the transmission of information about the sender’s individual identity in spite of environmental constraints (propagation-induced degradation, external noise).
Using long-distance calls, I first performed an acoustical analysis to quantify and characterize the degradation of female and male zebra finch calls during propagation, focusing on the features that carry information about individual identity. Second, using conditioning experiments I assessed the psycho-auditory abilities of zebra finches allowing them to extract information about individual identity in degraded vocalizations. Finally, I am in the process of investigating the neural representation of distance calls in the auditory system, focusing on the quantification of the neural discriminability for degraded calls from different individuals at high levels of the auditory system.

Current Projects

My PhD project involves collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, where I performed the neurophysiology experiments and part of the conditioning experiments. It is supervised by Nicolas MATHEVON (Univ. J. Monnet) and Frédéric THEUNISSEN (Univ. of California, Berkeley).
This project is funded by the French Ministère de l'Education Nationale et de la Recherche, the France-Berkeley Fund, a Monahan fellowship and a Fulbright fellowship.


Teaching assistant in comparative anatomy and human physiology.

Selected Publications

S. C. Mouterde et al. (2012). Triumph displays inform eavesdropping little blue penguins of new dominance asymmetries. Animal Behaviour 83, 605-611.

Zebra Finches

Spectrograms of propagated calls

Conditioning experiment

Electrophysiological recordings


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