News Round-Up

Sensory danger zones: how sensory pollution impacts animal survival


A new paper including research from a Utah State University scientist provides a framework for understanding how light and noise pollution affects wildlife. The framework is the product of an effort among worldwide experts in ecology and physiology and reveals the presence of “sensory danger zones,” or areas where sensory pollutants influences animal activity. The study is published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The paper is a collaborative work with principal investigator Neil Carter, assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability.

“From a conservation biology point of view, we don’t know how to mitigate the effects of sensory pollution if we don’t know what the pathway of harm is,” said Carter.

“Although these results have consequences for imperilled species of conservation concern, they also suggest ways by which we may use light and sound for managing urban wildlife, mitigating wildlife-vehicle collisions or preventing agricultural damage.” said David Stoner, a research assistant professor in the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources at USU. MORE

Header image: Golf course in the Ogden, Utah area with wildlife warnings posted. Outdoor lighting can influence animal movement, behaviour, and habitat use – especially along the urban-wildland interface. Credit: David Stoner/Utah State University.

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