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Rock ‘n’ roll is noise pollution – with ecological implications that can spread through a food web

noise pollution biodiversity


Despite being one of the best-selling albums of all time, ideology from AC/DC’s “Back in Black” album has gone unchallenged for nearly 40 years. The album’s closing track posited a testable hypothesis, asserting with rock-star confidence that “Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t noise pollution.” Opinions may vary from person to person, but little scientific evidence has been evaluated to determine if rock music is noise pollution … until now.

My research group recently tested the “AC/DC hypothesis.” Sadly, we report that, at least in some situations, rock ‘n’ roll in fact is noise pollution.

OK, yes, our experiment may sound silly or frivolous. But our hope is to focus a little more attention on how sounds – whether Angus Young’s guitar licks or the steady drone from a busy highway – can affect ecosystems. Our work demonstrates that the effects of noise pollution are not restricted just to the animals directly affected by the sounds, but can alter their behaviours and interactions with other animals and plants, spreading the effects throughout an ecosystem. MORE

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