Understanding How Road Noise Affects Wildlife
We know that human activity affects wildlife in numerous ways, but sometimes those effects can be hard to pinpoint and quantify. This study looks at how road noise, described as “a ubiquitous form of human disturbance,” may alter the behavior of keystone species, in this case looking at prairie dogs. Researchers found that exposure to road noise significantly decreased aboveground activity, and reduced foraging. What’s more, the study found that the prairie dogs did not seem to become habituated to the noise, as these effects lasted longer than a 3-month period. The study, the first of its kind on free-roaming mammals, reinforces that roadways can have have “profound impacts on biodiversity,” and that understanding the extent of these impacts is crucial for trying to mitigate them.