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Many animals communicate under conditions of interference and masking by other organisms. In birds, vocalizations support diverse functions, and are critical for reproduction and maintaining reproductive isolation, among others. However, mechanisms by which singing birds avoid interference in sympatric assemblages remains understudied. The acoustic niche hypothesis states that each organism in such an assemblage occupies a region of acoustic space different from others, that enables it to minimize interference. According to this theory, we predict that sympatric assemblages of birds are more acoustically dispersed than expected by chance. In addition, there exists the acoustic adaptation hypothesis, which offers up the converse prediction: that species occupying the same habitat should be more similar than expected by chance, to maximize sound propagation. By understanding vocal diversification, singing behavior and interspecific acoustic interactions in diverse birds, I seek to understand the mechanisms of coexistence in avian acoustic communities.
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