Noise pollution threatening biodiversity

Noise pollution is threatening the survival of more than 100 different species, interfering with the way they communicate and search for food, scientists have discovered. 

The meta-study by Queen’s University Belfast also found that man-made noise has an impact on bird migration, potentially harming ecosystems. The research sheds light on consequences for birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, and could give legislative bodies licence to regulate noise more effectively. “We need to develop strategies to protect animals from noise for their livelihoods,” said study lead author, Dr Hansjoerg Kunc.

Noise from ships interfering with the way fish locate certain reefs is one example of the impact on animal behaviour, while birds will avoid migrating to areas of high noise pollution. Animals such as bats and owls rely on acoustic sounds when hunting for prey, while others use them to evade predators. Man-made noise is changing their methods.

Dr Kunc called artificial noise a “serious form of man-made environmental change and pollution”, warning that all 100 species studied were negatively impacted.

Image credit | Shutterstock

 

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