Exploring the role of vocalizations in regulating group dynamics


Because of the diverging needs of individuals, group life can lead to disputes and competition, but it also has many advantages, such as reduced predation risk, information sharing and increased hunting success. Social animals have to maintain group cohesion and need to synchronize activities, such as foraging, resting, social interactions and movements, in order to thrive in groups. Acoustic signals are highly relevant for social dynamics, some because they are long-ranging and others because they are short-ranging, which may serve important within-group functions. However, although there has been an increase in studies concentrating on acoustic communication within groups in the past decade, many aspects of how vocalizations relate to group dynamics are still poorly understood. The aim of this review is to present an overview of our current knowledge on the role of vocalizations in regulating social group dynamics, identify knowledge gaps and recommend potential future research directions. We review the role that vocalizations play in (i) collective movement, (ii) separation risk and cohesion maintenance, (iii) fission–fusion dynamics, and (iv) social networks. We recommend that future studies aim to increase the diversity of studied species and strengthen the integration of state-ofthe-art tools to study social dynamics and acoustic signals. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The power of sound: unravelling how acoustic communication shapes group dynamics’.


Bing, X., Brask, J. B., Dabelsteen, T., and Briefer, E. F. 2024. Exploring the role of vocalizations in regulating group dynamics. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B37920230183.


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