Werner Reichardt Centrum für Integrative Neurowissenschaften (CIN)

Echolocation in Bats

Different Tasks in Echolocation

Bats have to solve a multitude of different echolocation tasks depending on where they fly and forage, what they eat and how they acquire food. In the course of evolution bats evolved a repertoire of species-specific signals and behaviours that have been adapted to the echolocation tasks that have to be performed. In a tightly coupled action-perception loop echolocating bats continuously evaluate the incoming information, form an inner representation of the outside world and select the appropriate signal types and emission pattern to reach an intended behavioural goal. In this decision-making process bats select from a set of options given by their species-specific repertoires of signal types that vary in frequency structure, duration and intensity, and of task-specific sound patterns and scanning behaviours. We compare and analyze the echolocation behaviours of different species of bats in typical echolocation tasks to understand the decision-making processes that lead to these behaviours and to conceive their adaptive value.