Increasing industrial expansion is threatening the planets 'sonic diversity'
'Soundscape ecology': the new science helping identify ecosystems at risk
16th December, 2011
As industrial development and human encroachment intensifies globally, academics believe the study of natural soundscapes could teach us much about how ecosystems function - and how they are under threat
‘Acoustics tie us to nature. Natural, ambient sounds give us a picture over time and define place. Sound also carries information about the time of day or seasonal time; every landscape has a rhythm to it. Cicadas here in the Midwest are very loud in the late summer – in fact they’re called Dog Days cicadas. As humans we’ve become accustomed to what these natural sounds are but as ecologists we haven’t studied their meaning in a very holistic way....' Dr Bryan C. Pijanowski and his colleagues at Purdue University, Indiana seek to change that by pioneering the emerging science of soundscape ecology.
To get an overview of a soundscape it's necessary to study the biophony (sounds that come from animals), geophony (geophysical signals that are the result of the movement of wind and water and earth) and anthrophony (sounds produced by human activity). As Dr Pijanowski explains: ‘The idea is to study the patterns of all of these, how they occur and emerge in different landscapes around the world. From this we can learn about ecosystems and how they function, and how these ecosystems might be threatened by the measure of...
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