Mark Bee, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution/Behavior

E-MAIL: mbee@umn.edu


Research Interests:

Research in my lab takes an integrative, comparative, and multi-disciplinary approach that draws on questions and methods from behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, comparative psychology, human psychoacoustics, and neurophysiology to provide answers to fundamental questions about animal communication, such as: (i) How do animals encode information about themselves in the production of acoustic signals? (ii) How do animals acquire information about other conspecifics through the perception of acoustic signals? (iii) How do these processes function in natural habitats and noisy social environments? And (iv) how do these processes evolve? While open to work on numerous taxa, our principal study organisms are frogs, in which acoustic communication mediates many important behaviors related to reproduction.

We are currently focused on two major questions. First, how do animals perceive the vocalizations of other individuals in noisy social environments? In this context, we are investigating questions related to “auditory scene analysis” and the so-called “cocktail party problem” to understand how the frog auditory system forms auditory objects of acoustic signals and segregates the signals of one male from the din of background noise in a large breeding chorus. Second, what is the role of acoustic signaling in mediating the aggressive male-male interactions that arise from sexual selection and take place in social environments that are both temporally and spatially variable? In this context, our work investigates vocally mediated social recognition, behavioral plasticity, learning, and honest signaling in male frogs that defend calling sites or breeding territories.


Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

Baugh AT, Ryan MJ, Bernal XE, Rand AS, Bee MA. Female túngara frogs do not experience the continuity illusion. Behav Neurosci. 2016 Feb;130(1):62-74.

Bee MA. Treefrogs as animal models for research on auditory scene analysis and the cocktail party problem. J Psychophysiol. 2015 Feb;95(2):216-37.

Schrode KM, Bee MA. Evolutionary adaptations for the temporal processing of natural sounds by the anuran peripheral auditory system. J Exp Biol. 2015 Jan 23;.

Ward JL, Love EK, Baugh AT, Gordon NM and Bee MA (in press). Progesterone and prostaglandin F2α induce species-typical female preferences for male sexual displays in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Physiology and Behavior.

Chuang M-F, Kam Y-C and Bee MA (in press) Quantitative description of the vocal repertoire of the territorial olive frog, Babina adenopleura, from Taiwan. Bioacoustics

Kershenbaum A, Blumstein DT, Roch MA, Akcay C, Backus G and Bee MA, (+37 more) (in press). Acoustic sequences in non-human animals: A tutorial review and prospectus. Biological Reviews.

Buerkle NP, Schrode KM and Bee MA (2014) Auditory brainstem responses in the green treefrog (Hyla cinerea). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, v178, 68-81.

Caldwell MS, Lee N, Schrode KM, Johns AR, Christensen-Dalsgaard J, Bee MA. Spatial hearing in Cope's gray treefrog: II. Frequency-dependent directionality in the amplitude and phase of tympanum vibrations. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2014 Apr;200(4):285-304.

Caldwell MS, Bee MA. Spatial hearing in Cope's gray treefrog: I. Open and closed loop experiments on sound localization in the presence and absence of noise. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2014 Apr;200(4):265-84.

Schrode KM, Buerkle NP, Brittan-Powell EF, Bee MA. Auditory brainstem responses in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis): effects of frequency, level, sex and size. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2014 Mar;200(3):221-38.

Thomas A, Suyesh R, Biju SD, Bee MA. Vocal behavior of the elusive purple frog of India (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis), a fossorial species endemic to the Western Ghats. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 7;9(2):e84809.

Buerkle NP, Schrode KM, and Bee MA (2014) Assessing stimulus and subject influences on auditory evoked potentials and their relation to peripheral physiology in green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea). Comp Biochem and Physiol A. 178: 68-81.

Schrode KM, Buerkle NP, Brittan-Powell EF, and Bee MA (2014) Auditory brainstem responses in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis): effects of frequency, level, sex and size. J Comp Physiol A. 200:221-238.

Ward JL, Buerkle NP, Bee MA. Spatial release from masking improves sound pattern discrimination along a biologically relevant pulse-rate continuum in gray treefrogs. Hear Res. 2013 Dec;306:63-75.

Vélez A, Linehan-Skillings BJ, Gu Y, Sun Y, Bee MA. Pulse-number discrimination by Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) in modulated and unmodulated noise. J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Oct;134(4):3079-89.


Vélez A, Höbel G, Gordon NM, Bee MA. Dip listening or modulation masking? Call recognition by green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) in temporally fluctuating noise. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2012 Dec;198(12):891-904.

Vélez A & Bee MA (in press) Signal recognition by green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) and Cope’s gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) in naturally fluctuating noise. Journal of Comparative Psychology.

Bee MA, Suyesh R, and Biju SD (in press) The vocal repertoire of Pseudophilautus kani, a shrub frog (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from the Western Ghats of India. Bioacoustics.

Schwartz JJ, Bee MA (in press) Anuran acoustic signal production in noisy environments. In: Brumm H (ed) Animal Communication and Noise. Springer: New York.

Vélez A, Schwartz JJ, Bee MA (in press) Anuran acoustic signal perception in noisy environments. In: Brumm H (ed) Animal Communication and Noise. Springer: New York.

Schrode KM, Ward JL, Vélez A, Bee MA. Female preferences for spectral call properties in the western genetic lineage of Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 2012 Dec 1;66(12):1595-1606.

Pettitt BA, Bourne GR, Bee MA. Quantitative acoustic analysis of the vocal repertoire of the golden rocket frog (Anomaloglossus beebei). J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Jun;131(6):4811-20.

Bee MA, Vélez A, Forester JD. Sound level discrimination by gray treefrogs in the presence and absence of chorus-shaped noise. J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 May;131(5):4188-95

Bee MA, Sound source perception in anuran amphibians. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Apr;22(2):301-10.

Nityananda V, Bee MA. Spatial release from masking in a free-field source identification task by gray treefrogs. Hear Res. 2012 Mar;285(1-2):86-97.

Miller CT & Bee MA (2012) Receiver psychology turns 20: Is it time for a broader approach? Animal Behaviour, 83, 331-343.

Vélez A, Bee MA. Dip listening and the cocktail party problem in grey treefrogs: Signal recognition in temporally fluctuating noise. Anim Behav. 2011 Dec;82(6):1319-1327.

Nityananda V, Bee MA. Finding your mate at a cocktail party: frequency separation promotes auditory stream segregation of concurrent voices in multi-species frog choruses. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21191.

Bee MA. Spectral preferences and the role of spatial coherence in simultaneous integration in gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis). J Comp Psychol. 2010 Nov;124(4):412-24.

Vélez A, Bee MA. Signal recognition by frogs in the presence of temporally fluctuating chorus-shaped noise. Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 2010 Oct 1;64(10):1695-1709.

Love EK, Bee MA. An experimental test of noise-dependent voice amplitude regulation in Cope's grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Anim Behav. 2010 Sep 1;80(3):509-515.

Bee MA, Micheyl C, Oxenham AJ, Klump GM. Neural adaptation to tone sequences in the songbird forebrain: patterns, determinants, and relation to the build-up of auditory streaming. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2010 Aug;196(8):543-57.

Kuczynski MC, Vélez A, Schwartz JJ, Bee MA. Sound transmission and the recognition of temporally degraded sexual advertisement signals in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). J Exp Biol. 2010 Aug 15;213(Pt 16):2840-50.

Kuczynski M, Vélez A, Schwartz JJ, and Bee MA (2010) Sound transmission and the recognition of temporally degraded call structure in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis).  Journal of Experimental Biology, 213, 2840-2850.

Seeba F, Schwartz JJ, and Bee MA (2010) Testing an auditory illusion in frogs: Perceptual restoration or rule-based sensory biases? Animal Behaviour, 79, 1317-1328.

Bee MA, Cook JM, Love EK, O'Bryan LR, Pettitt BA, Schrode K, and Vélez A (2010) Assessing acoustic signal variability and the potential for sexual selection and social recognition in boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata). Ethology, 116, 564-576. PDF


Current Graduate Students:

Katrina Schrode (Ph.D. 2014, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Mark Bee