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Shared acoustic space is an inevitable consequence of calling from sites that have other acoustically active individuals leading to the problem of acoustic masking. The degree of masking suffered depends on a number of factors including the behaviour of signalers, features of their calls as well as that of the environment in which they are calling. A tropical rainforest has a staggering diversity of species, many that are acoustically active, and a stratified and heterogeneous vegetation structure harbouring different microclimatic conditions within each layer. Unsurprisingly, the acoustic space of a tropical rainforest seems to be crowded, making it an excellent place to examine acoustic masking avoidance. It is expected, however, that animals that have evolved to effectively communicate in these noisy choruses must have evolved strategies to deal with the noise. In my talk I will present our findings on heterospecific masking avoidance in an ensiferan assemblage of a tropical rainforest. I will highlight the degree of masking that is possible in the assemblage and then demonstrate how different axes of segregation are employed to bring down heterospecific masking to negligible levels, thereby achieving silence in a cacophony.
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