Scientist to decode songs of the cicada at Columbia conference

Thursday, June 2, 2011 | 4:51 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The constant buzz of the cicada can be heard across Columbia, and residents have an opportunity on Saturday to find out why.

Scientists from around the world are gathering in Columbia this weekend to discuss invertebrate animal acoustic communication amidst the noisy periodical cicadas.

The public is welcome to attend the free Saturday Morning Science talk about cicadas by David Marshall, a researcher at the University of Connecticut. His talk, "Decoding the Din — Songs, Sex and Speciation in Periodical Cicadas," will discuss the ways female and male cicadas communicate acoustically and visually during the mating process, the loudest part of the cicada life cycle.

“We chose the timing to coincide with the cicadas,” said Johannes Schul, event organizer and MU associate professor in biological sciences.

The conference itinerary features five main speakers, with an additional 50 talks and 30 research posters. “We have about 100 scientists from all over the world including 10 countries,” Schul said.

The conference will take place in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at MU from Saturday through Tuesday. The Saturday Morning Science talk begins at 10:30 a.m. in Monsanto Auditorium.

“Animal acoustic communication is one of the strong points of biological sciences,” Schul said. "Cicadas have always been a large part of this talk."

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Michael Williams June 2, 2011 | 7:20 p.m.

To heck with the songs.

I want to find a cropduster pilot that will overfly my neighborhood with a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide.

I promise I won't gripe about it.

Cross my heart............

(Report Comment)
Jeff Moran June 6, 2011 | 5:33 p.m.

For an excellent song about periodical cicadas by local song writing legend, Dr Chordate, please visit this MySpace Music page,

(Report Comment)

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