In the CITISENSE project, funded through an ERC starting grant, we aim to understand how animal communication and species interactions are influenced by urban sensory conditions, such as artificial light at night and anthropogenic noise. Our study system is the Neotropical túngara frog (Physalaemus postulosus) and we combine field observations with behavioral experiments to assess inter-and intraspecific interactions in both forest and urban environments. We have documented that this species experiences strong sexual selection from mate choice and rival competition and natural selection imposed by predatory bats and parasitic midge and these processes differ between habitats. We are currently unraveling the mechanisms underlying these changes in selection pressures as well as their consequences in terms of adaptive changes in behaviour and morphology that we observe between populations.


further reading:


Halfwerk, W, et al. Adaptive changes in sexual signalling in response to urbanization. Nature ecology & evolution 3, 374, (2019).

Halfwerk, W. How Should We Study Urban Speciation. Front. Ecol. Evol. 8: 573545. doi: 10.3389/fevo, (2021).

Cronin, AD, JA Smit, and W Halfwerk. Anthropogenic noise and light alter temporal but not spatial breeding behavior in a wild frog. Behavioral Ecology 33, 1115-1122, (2022).

Smit, JAH, AD Cronin, I van der Wiel, B Oteman, J Ellers, and W Halfwerk. Interactive and independent effects of light and noise pollution on sexual signaling in frogs. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 757, (2022).

Cronin, AD, JA Smit, MI Muñoz, A Poirier, PA Moran, P Jerem, and W Halfwerk. A comprehensive overview of the effects of urbanisation on sexual selection and sexual traits. Biological Reviews 97, 1325-1345, (2022).

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