Species Too Don’t Like Traffic Noise
A new study revealed the impact of man-made noise to the survival of some species. One of the key findings of the study showed that it is not only human beings who are affected by urban noise, but some mammals, birds, fish, insects and amphibians are also impacted in all sorts of ways too.
According to the study by the researchers from Bristol University’s School of Biological Sciences in South Africa, man-made noise can hinder the response of animals to the warning signals given by other species, putting them at greater risk of death from predators.
It has been known that many animals are known to signal alarm to other species, effectively translating a foreign language to gather valuable information about the presence of predators or danger.
Sad to say urban noise hinders this communication among species and makes them vulnerable to danger.
This study was spearheaded by a Bristol team composed of lead author Amy Morris-Drake, Dr Julie Kern, Professor Andy Radford and Anna Bracken.
Dwarf Mongoose as Example
Using field-based experiments in South Africa, the researchers from the University’s School of Biological Sciences cited that traffic noise reduces the likelihood of dwarf mongooses fleeing to the warning signals uttered by tree squirrels.
Amy Morris-Drake said: “The lack of an appropriate escape response could result from noise-induced distraction or stress. Alternatively, noisy conditions could partially mask the tree squirrel vocalisations, making it harder for the dwarf mongooses to extract the relevant information.”
In addition, co-lead author Anna Bracken highlighted the link between alarm calls and survival of the species.
Braken added: “While lots of work has focused on whether animals can adjust their vocalisations to avoid the effects of masking, it is often difficult to determine what that might mean for survival. By looking at responses to alarm calls, there is a direct link to survival; a lack of response could result in death.”
The Study and the Result
The Bristol team studied the behavior of wild dwarf mongoose groups who were so familiar with the researchers’ presence that they could walk within a few feet of them.
The researchers found out that animals too are affected by urban noise. One good example of this is the wild dwarf mongoose.
This finding was confirmed by Professor Andy Radford who said: “We’ve known for a long time that noise from urbanisation, traffic and airports can detrimentally affect humans by causing stress, sleep deprivation, cardiac problems and slower learning. What’s becoming increasingly clear is that a lot of other species – mammals, birds, fish, insects and amphibians – are also impacted in all sorts of ways by man-made noise.”