The School of Psychology and Neuroscience is hosting a seminar by Dr Sue Anne Zollinger from Manchester Metropolitan University on ‘ The effects of noise pollution on avian behavior, learning and fitness'
‘Anthropogenic noise pollution has been identified as one of the leading environmental health risks in humans, and it has been linked to a myriad of short- and long-term health and psycho-social effects from cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders to cognitive and memory impairment. However, less is known about the effects of noise on the health, learning and development in non-human animals. As noise levels due to human activities continue to rise across habitats across the planet, noise has the potential to have fitness effects on an increasing number of wildlife. To date, most noise impact studies in both humans and animals have been largely correlative, showing differences between traits in noise polluted and quieter environments. To better understand causal and mechanistic links between noise and observed effects, we have adopted an experimental approach to to study both physiological and behavioural responses to chronic noise exposure in songbirds. I will present data from a series of experiments that our group has conducted over the past decade, which together provide compelling evidence of the broad negative impacts that noise pollution can have on exposed birds. We show that chronic exposure to road traffic noise can disrupt communication, weaken immune function, depress hormone levels, elevate metabolic energy consumption, accelerate cellular ageing, hinder somatic growth, and delay vocal development. ‘