Meeting Abstract

S10-5  Sunday, Jan. 7 10:00 - 10:30  Effects of Experimental Traffic Noise Exposure on Avian Health and Fitness ZOLLINGER, Sue Anne*; BRUMM, Henrik; Max Planck Institute for Ornithology; Max Planck Institute for Ornithology

In the past decade, hundreds of studies on the potential effects of anthropogenic noise on birds have been published. The majority of these studies report on differences in traits, primarily vocal signals, between individuals living in noisy urban areas and conspecifics in quieter habitats. However, noise can also impact exposed animals in non-acoustic ways; for example, noise may reduce reproductive success not only by impairing communication but also by triggering physiological stress responses. Therefore, it is crucial to go beyond simple correlational studies and to integrate the effects of noise pollution across different systemic levels, from physiology to fitness. In the last five years, we have been running a series of experiments designed to test hypotheses about whether traffic noise acts as a chronic stressor, which in turn may lead to reduced fitness by affecting body condition or immune function, increasing rates of cellular ageing, or impact reproductive success. We experimentally exposed breeding birds in the lab to chronic playback of traffic noise at realistic levels for urban dwelling birds, and investigated a suite of physiological and behavioral traits, including telomere loss, baseline and stress-induced glucocorticoid levels, reproductive behaviour, offspring mortality and physical development, and song learning. I will discuss what these results from our experimental noise treatments in a laboratory setting may or may not be able to tell us about of the effects of noise on birds living in an urban environment.