Presentation Title

Influence of Skull Morphology on Call Characteristics in Glaucomys sabrinus and Glaucomys volans

Project Collaborators

Emily Beasley (Graduate Student Mentor)

Abstract

Abstract

In Vermont, there exist two species of flying squirrel: the Northern Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, and the Southern Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys volans. The two species are very similar with respect to diet, appearance, and habitat utilization. Both species are nocturnal, encouraging them to be more dependent on vocalization for communication. Similarities end here, as G. sabrinus calls are more frequently in singular bursts than the repetitive burst of G. volans, and lower in pitch than the wholly ultrasonic G. volans calls. This difference between the two species' call characteristics could be a result of learned behavior differentiation in the regions the species are found, or the distinction could be a product of skull morphology. I will compare the skull morphology of the two species using photography in order to find evidence for factors influencing call sounds in the squirrels. Pictures will be taken of the skulls and analogous structures will be assessed for any differences in size and length and relationship from one another. This will be done using the program R and Stereomorph for R. Significant differences in the morphologies would suggest that call characteristics are dictated by skull morphology, and not something such as learned behavior. Larger skulls are more capable of lower frequency calls, and because G. sabrinus are slightly larger than G. volans, I expect the skulls to be larger as well.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Emily Beasley

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Biological Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Influence of Skull Morphology on Call Characteristics in Glaucomys sabrinus and Glaucomys volans

Abstract

In Vermont, there exist two species of flying squirrel: the Northern Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, and the Southern Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys volans. The two species are very similar with respect to diet, appearance, and habitat utilization. Both species are nocturnal, encouraging them to be more dependent on vocalization for communication. Similarities end here, as G. sabrinus calls are more frequently in singular bursts than the repetitive burst of G. volans, and lower in pitch than the wholly ultrasonic G. volans calls. This difference between the two species' call characteristics could be a result of learned behavior differentiation in the regions the species are found, or the distinction could be a product of skull morphology. I will compare the skull morphology of the two species using photography in order to find evidence for factors influencing call sounds in the squirrels. Pictures will be taken of the skulls and analogous structures will be assessed for any differences in size and length and relationship from one another. This will be done using the program R and Stereomorph for R. Significant differences in the morphologies would suggest that call characteristics are dictated by skull morphology, and not something such as learned behavior. Larger skulls are more capable of lower frequency calls, and because G. sabrinus are slightly larger than G. volans, I expect the skulls to be larger as well.