Journal article

Predicting the Effect of Urban Noise on the Active Space of Avian Vocal Signals

Kirsten M Parris, Michael A McCarthy



Urbanization changes the physical environment of nonhuman species but also markedly changes their acoustic environment. Urban noise interferes with acoustic communication in a range of animals, including birds, with potentially profound impacts on fitness. However, a mechanistic theory to predict which species of birds will be most affected by urban noise is lacking. We develop a mathematical model to predict the decrease in the active space of avian vocal signals after moving from quiet forest habitats to noisy urban habitats. We find that the magnitude of the decrease is largely a function of signal frequency. However, this relationship is not monotonic. A metaregression of observed increa..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank H. Brumm and E. Nemeth for kindly providing unpublished data and Brumm, Nemeth, and D. Potvin for helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Environmental Research Program, Environmental Decisions Hub, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, an Australian Research Council Discovery grant to K. M. P. (DP0343787), and an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to M. A. M. (FT100100923).