An altered acoustic environment can have severe consequences for natural communities, especially for species that use acoustic signals to communicate and achieve breeding success. Numerous studies have focused on traffic noise disturbance, but the possible causes of road effects are intercorrelated and the literature on noise qua noise is sometimes contradictory. To provide further empirical data in this regard, the authors investigated the spatio-temporal variability of the singing dynamics of an avian community living in an acoustic context altered by traffic noise. Fieldwork was carried out in a wood of Turkey oaks (central Italy) bordered on one side by a main road. The soundscape was examined by positioning eight digital recorders, distributed in two transects perpendicular to the road, and recording between 6:30 and 8.30 a.m. for 12 continuous sessions. The acoustic complexity index was used to obtain a quantification of singing dynamics, which were positively correlated with traffic noise. This may indicate that birds try to propagate their signals with greater emphasis (e.g., amplified redundancy or loudness of the songs) to override the masking effect of noise. Nevertheless, an ecotonal effect could have influenced the correlation results, with this enhanced dynamic possibly being due to a more densely populated environment.

Application of a recently introduced index for acoustic complexity to an avian soundscape with traffic noise

FARINA, ALMO
2013-01-01

Abstract

An altered acoustic environment can have severe consequences for natural communities, especially for species that use acoustic signals to communicate and achieve breeding success. Numerous studies have focused on traffic noise disturbance, but the possible causes of road effects are intercorrelated and the literature on noise qua noise is sometimes contradictory. To provide further empirical data in this regard, the authors investigated the spatio-temporal variability of the singing dynamics of an avian community living in an acoustic context altered by traffic noise. Fieldwork was carried out in a wood of Turkey oaks (central Italy) bordered on one side by a main road. The soundscape was examined by positioning eight digital recorders, distributed in two transects perpendicular to the road, and recording between 6:30 and 8.30 a.m. for 12 continuous sessions. The acoustic complexity index was used to obtain a quantification of singing dynamics, which were positively correlated with traffic noise. This may indicate that birds try to propagate their signals with greater emphasis (e.g., amplified redundancy or loudness of the songs) to override the masking effect of noise. Nevertheless, an ecotonal effect could have influenced the correlation results, with this enhanced dynamic possibly being due to a more densely populated environment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2591381
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