Bats adapt their echolocation calls to noise

Bats find their way acoustically when they are flying by using echolocation calls, often also employing them when hunting for food. A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich has now discovered how these animals handle interference in the form of environmental noise. They analyzed thousands of echolocation calls under various natural ambient noise conditions and showed that bats adapt both the amplitude of their calls and their duration to the noise level. Although every individual reacted slightly differently in the process, all the mechanisms used improve the detectability of the signal.

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