Causes and consequences of intraspecific variation in animal responses to anthropogenic noise

Harding, Harry R and Gordon, Timothy A C and Eastcott, Emma and Simpson, Stephen D and Radford, Andrew N (2019) Causes and consequences of intraspecific variation in animal responses to anthropogenic noise. Behavioral Ecology, 30 (6). pp. 1501-1511. ISSN 1045-2249

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Anthropogenic noise is a recognized global pollutant, affecting a wide range of nonhuman animals. However, most research considers only whether noise pollution has an impact, ignoring that individuals within a species or population exhibit substantial variation in responses to stress. Here, we first outline how intrinsic characteristics (e.g., body size, condition, sex, and personality) and extrinsic factors (e.g., environmental context, repeated exposure, prior experience, and multiple stressors) can affect responses to environmental stressors. We then present the results of a systematic search of the anthropogenic-noise literature, identifying articles that investigated intraspecific variation in the responses of nonhuman animals to noise. This reveals that fewer than 10% of articles (51 of 589) examining impacts of noise test experimentally for intraspecific variation in responses; of those that do, more than 75% report significant effects. We assess these existing studies to determine the current scope of research and findings to-date, and to provide suggestions for good practice in the design, implementation, and reporting of robust experiments in this field. We close by explaining how understanding intraspecific variation in responses to anthropogenic noise is crucial for improving how we manage captive animals, monitor wild populations, model species responses, and mitigate effects of noise pollution on wildlife. Our aim is to stimulate greater knowledge and more effective management of the harmful consequences of this global pollutant.

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Journal Article
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Behavioral Ecology
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20 Jan 2022 15:40
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:48