Navigation Links
Bats pick up rustling sounds against highway background noise
Date:9/18/2008

Listening for faint rustling noises made by tasty beetles on a quiet day is simple for bats hunting with their exquisitely sensitive hearing. So try imagining what it must be like trying to locate rustling treats just metres from a roaring highway. It would seem to be almost impossible to pick out a centipede's footsteps as a juggernaut hurtles past; or is it? How animals that locate their prey by sound alone cope in our increasingly noisy world puzzles Bjrn Siemers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany. Siemers explains that no one had ever measured whether bats that hunt by listening for rustling insects are affected by man-made noise. However, this is a question that Siemers is frequently asked by urban planners keen to minimise our impact on local wildlife populations. Curious to know how sharp-eared bats react to loud background noise, Siemers and his colleagues Andrea Schaub and Joachim Ostwald monitored foraging bats' responses to rustling mealworms in noisy environments and publish their results on 19th September 2008 in The Journal of Experimental Biology on http://jeb.biologists.org.

Working with a group of young male greater mouse-eared bats, Siemers and Schaub allowed individual bats to forage freely in a large soundproof room. Dividing the back of the room in two, the duo provided the bats with a choice of rustling mealworm snacks in each half of the room to dine on. Over the course of several days, the bats divided their attention equally between the two halves of the room, easily locating the rustling nibbles. But how would the bats react when the team switched on a noise in one of the two dining areas?

First, the team synthesized true white noise before playing the sound in one half of the flight arena. The bats instantly avoided the unpleasant buzzing sound, spending more than 80% of their time hunting in the quiet dining area.

Next, Siemers and Schaub headed out to a local highway to record traffic sounds within 15m of the busy road. Back in the lab the animals were less bothered by the loud traffic noise than they had been by the white noise buzz. But they still preferred hunting in the quiet dining area, only spending 38.7% of their time gathering mealworms from the traffic noise booth. However, when the bats ventured into the noisy dining area they had no obvious problems locating their rustling prey against the traffic background.

More surprisingly, when the team played a simulation of a high wind rattling reed beds, the bats seemed to find it difficult to locate their prey and preferred foraging away from the sound, even though it was a noise that they encounter naturally in their day-to-day activities. So, man-made noise does interfere with bat foraging, but less than a very high wind rattling through vegetation.

Siemers admits that it isn't yet clear how man-made noise interferes with foraging bats as they listen out for a rustling lunch, but it probably does discourage these animals from foraging close to busy road networks. Keen to find out whether noise pollution affects foraging bat's hearing, or interferes with some other aspect of the bat's behaviour, Siemers is optimistic that his work will eventually result in bat-friendly road construction guidelines that will help to protect endangered bat species from our increasingly mechanised world.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathryn Phillips
kathryn@biologists.com
44-012-234-25525
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cells united against cancer
2. Progress Against Malaria: Developments on the Horizon
3. Genes that both extend life and protect against cancer identified
4. Gamma interferon could aid fight against fungal infections
5. In the laboratory, green tea proves a powerful medicine against severe sepsis
6. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against Parkinsons, study says
7. Protein protects brain against compound in lead poisoning, liver disease
8. Blood pressure drug telmisartan shows powerful activity against stroke
9. CWRU School of Medicine has evidence vaccine against malaria will reduce disease
10. A search for protection against chemotherapy cardiotoxicity
11. Translational research patented first experimental treatment against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for ... Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window ... imaging data, the first application of deep learning to ... stem cell lines and a growing suite of powerful ... for these and future publicly available resources created and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, ... the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... competition will focus on developing health and wellness apps ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon ... The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator ... osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global access ... developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, an ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, Inc. ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on August ... MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of Orthopedic ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics ... from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected ... for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells ... Program highlights the need to accelerate development of approaches ... "New techniques for measuring levels ...
Breaking Biology Technology: