Ant Stridulation and the Peent of Nighthawks

NPR’s Weekend Edition featured a story about how biologists are beginning to believe that the “soundscape” of nature could be a valuable clue to ecological health.

“‘We’re trying to understand how sounds can be used as measures of ecosystem health,’ says [Bryan] Pijanowski, who teaches in the department of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University. He and some colleagues have written a call to action in the journal BioScience. It’s time, they say, to formalize the study of ‘soundscape ecology.’”

It’s worth listening to the entire program, which includes such startling facts as: 70% of the time, a jet airliner’s rumble can be detected anywhere in Yosemite National Park.

And for another fascinating take on “biophony,” read Dawn Stover’s “Not So Silent Spring,” a story about blackbirds imitating urban sounds and the theories of bio-acoustician Bernie Krause.

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