AE.org - website of the Acoustic Ecology Institute
News/IssuesCommunityResourcesSoundscapesAbout UsJoin Us

Noise sprawl threatens protected areas, critical habitats

Effects of Noise on Wildlife, Science, Wildlands Comments Off on Noise sprawl threatens protected areas, critical habitats

Lay summary of:
Noise pollution is pervasive in U.S. protected areas. Rachel T. Buxton, Megan F. McKenna, Daniel Mennitt, Kurt Fristrup, Kevin Crooks, Lisa Angeloni and George Wittemyer (May 4, 2017). Science 356 (6337), 531-533. [doi: 10.1126/science.aah4783] Online access (subscription)

Ongoing data analysis by researchers from the National Park Service and Colorado State University is revealing an increasingly detailed picture of the sprawling impact of human noise in protected areas around the United States. The most recent paper from this groundbreaking team digs into the sound models to offer a better sense of how extensive the issue is, and highlights the promise of focusing conservation efforts on preserving areas where the human noise footprint remains small.

The researchers zero in on two key thresholds of noise: 3dB above the natural ambient sound, which marks a doubling of noise levels (causing a 50% reduction in the area over which sounds can be heard), and 10dB of excess noise, which is a 10-fold increase, leading to a 90% reduction in listening area. As the authors note, these are “levels known to interfere with human visitor experience and disrupt wildlife behavior, fitness, and community composition.”

The new maps include all protected areas in the US: federal, state, and local. Not surprisingly, the “natural” areas near cities tend to be very loud (yellow on the maps below, up to 30dB of additional human noise). Read the rest of this entry »

Great SciAmer blog post on animals adapting to human noise

Animal Communication, Bioacoustics, Effects of Noise on Wildlife Comments Off on Great SciAmer blog post on animals adapting to human noise

Jump on over to Scientific American to read this great overview of the many different ways that animals are using to adapt to increasing human noise in their habitats. The author is an NYU science reporting student, and she promises a new sound blog soon on Scienceline….

Can you hear me now? Animals all over the world are finding interesting ways to get around the human din