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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Noise Affects Animals and Plants

Man-made noise affects animals and plants. "For long-lived plants, the impact can last tens of years, even after the sound source is lost," said Clinton Francis of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina.

This statement refers to the research during 2007-2010 on the Bureau of Land Management's Rattlesnake Canyon Wildlife Area in northwestern New Mexico. The research results were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B edition March 21.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird. (Picture from: http://www.glennbartley.com/)
At that location there are thousands of natural gas wells that emit noise throughout the day. The researchers create plots of land to plant wildflowers. They make a comparison of the number of animals visiting pollinators in a noisy location and quiet.

Apparently spestes certain bird -hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is a black-chinned- five times more than a noisy visit quiet. "Because of other bird species, the Scrub Jay birds, tend to avoid these areas," said Francis.

Piñon pine.
In the study researchers find out if the noise impact to trees and seedlings. Trees are used as experimental Piñon pine (Pinus edulis).

This tree seeds fall to the ground and are eaten by birds and other animals. The researchers spread the seed below 120 pine trees at two locations are quiet and noisy.

After three days, a number of animals seen eating seeds, including mice, squirrels, birds, and rabbits. It turned out that rats prefer to eat the seeds in a noisy location. Scrub Jay birds swallow the seeds were more comfortable in a quiet location.

Scrub Jay can take hundreds to thousands of seeds and hide in the ground to eat at the end of the year. But most of the seeds finally germinate and grow. 
To find out if noise affected the number of piñon pine seeds that animals ate, the researchers scattered piñon pine seeds underneath piñon pine trees in noisy and quiet sites, using a motion-triggered camera to figure out what animals took the seeds. (Picture from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/)
Piñon pine seeds that are eaten by mice don't survive the passage through the animal's gut, Francis explained, so the boost in mouse populations near noisy sites could be bad news for pine seedlings in those areas.

In contrast, a single western scrub jay may take hundreds to thousands of seeds, only to hide them in the soil to eat later in the year. The seeds they fail to relocate will eventually germinate, so the preference of western scrub jays for quiet areas means that piñon pines in those areas are likely to benefit.

In keeping with their seed results, the researchers counted the number of piñon pine seedlings and found that they were four times as abundant in quiet sites compared with noisy ones.

It may take decades for a piñon pine to grow from a seedling into a full-grown tree, Francis said. This means the consequences of noise may last longer than we thought. "Fewer seedlings in noisy areas might eventually mean fewer mature trees, but because piñon pines are so slow-growing the shift could have gone undetected for years, he explained.

"Fewer piñon pine trees would mean less critical habitat for the hundreds of species that depend on them for survival," he added.

Other authors of the study include Catherine Ortega, most recently of Fort Lewis College, and Alexander Cruz and Nathan Kleist of the University of Colorado, Boulder. *** [SCIENCEDAILY | PHYSORG.COM | UWD | KORAN TEMPO 3830]
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