Understanding how organisms respond to any environment requires a full characterization of how the environment varies over time and space. A rapidly growing literature on the influence of anthropogenic noise on wildlife, and in particular animal communication, has yet to fully describe this variation. Point measurements of amplitude, often separated in time and space from animal observations, and qualitative descriptions of noise inadequately capture variation, a bias that may limit deeper understanding of noise effects on wildlife. We suggest that a greater focus on temporal and spatial heterogeneity in noise amplitude, as well as additional properties of noise, including onset, consistency, regularity, and frequency range, is critical for continued advancement in this emerging field. Recordings of noise using calibrated systems allow researchers to measure a suite of noise properties simultaneously with animal observations. Not only will such an approach improve quantification of single metrics of noise, the noise data collected may then be analyzed in a multivariate framework, which will help us understand the full range of behavioral and physiological adjustments animals may make and their broader implications for wildlife health and conservation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology