Data on Wildlife Research Reported by Researchers at James Cook University
2012 JUN 29 (VerticalNews) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Ecology, Environment & Conservation -- Researchers detail new data in Wildlife Research. According to news reporting originating from Cairns, Australia, by VerticalNews correspondents, researchers stated "Traffic noise is believed to cause road avoidance and other barrier effects in a variety of wildlife species, and to force changes to call pitch or loudness in others; however, this has never been tested in the absence of other road impacts. Noise impacts on species that do not frequently vocalise are also poorly understood."
Our news editors obtained a quote from the research by the authors from James Cook University, "We investigated traffic-noise impacts on the following three rainforest mammals that do not often vocalise: Hypsiprymnodon moschatus, Uromys caudimaculatus and Perameles nasuta. These species have previously been observed to exhibit varying levels of road avoidance. To determine whether traffic noise affects movement and behaviour of medium-sized, ground-dwelling rainforest mammals in the absence of other road-associated variables and potential impacts. We hypothesised that noise impacts would be greatest for species previously shown to avoid roads. Noise impacts on these less vocal species compared with more vocal species is also discussed. In north-eastern Queensland, Australia, mammals captured at least 500m from any road were tracked after fitting with spool-and-line equipment. On noisy nights, traffic noise at levels similar to a busy highway was played continuously throughout the night from a line of 12 speakers mounted on trees. Speakers were silent on quiet nights. Traffic noise caused no increase in avoidance of the speaker line and was not a barrier to movements across the line. Overall, movement paths on noisy nights appeared similar in pattern (tortuosity) to those of quiet nights. At a finer scale, movements of H. moschatus and P. nasuta became more tortuous later in the track, suggesting a return to normal foraging behaviour and possible habituation to the noise. These three species with varying levels of previously recorded road avoidance, did not respond negatively to traffic noise. There was, however, a suggestion of habituation by H. moschatus and P. nasuta in response to the noise. The demonstrated lack of response to traffic noise in these less vocal species means that traffic noise is unlikely to cause road avoidance or barrier effects."
According to the news editors, the researchers concluded: "Instead, lack of response and possible habituation to traffic noise may increase vulnerability to road mortality."
For more information on this research see: Are less vocal rainforest mammals susceptible to impacts from traffic noise? Wildlife Research, 2012;39(4):355-365. Wildlife Research can be contacted at: Csiro Publishing, 150 Oxford St, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Victoria 3066, Australia. (CSIRO Publishing - www.publish.csiro.au; Wildlife Research - www.publish.csiro.au/nid/144.htm)
The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting P. Byrnes, James Cook Univ, Center Trop Environm & Sustainabil Sci, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia.
Keywords for this news article include: Cairns, Wildlife Research, Australia and New Zealand
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