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Extreme environmental conditions lead to a collapsed avian soundscapes; an agent-based model
  • Meelyn Pandit,
  • Eli Bridge,
  • Jeremy Ross
Meelyn Pandit
University of Oklahoma

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Eli Bridge
Oklahoma Biological Survey
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Jeremy Ross
Oklahoma Biological Survey
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Climate change is increasing aridity in grassland and desert habitats across the southwestern United States, reducing available resources and drastically changing the breeding habitat of many bird species. Increases in aridity reduce sound propagation distances, potentially impacting habitat soundscapes, and leading to a breakdown of the avian soundscapes in the form of loss of vocal culture, reduced mating opportunities, and local population extinctions. We developed an agent-based model to examine how changes in aridity will affect both sound propagation and the ability of territorial birds to audibly contact their neighbors. We simulated vocal signal attenuation under a variety of environmental scenarios for the south central semi-arid prairies of the United States, ranging from contemporary weather conditions to predicted extremes under climate change. We also simulated how changes in physiological conditions, mainly evaporative water loss (EWL), would affect singing behavior. Under extreme climate change conditions, we found significantly fewer individuals successfully contacted all adjacent neighbors than did individuals in either the contemporary or mean climate change conditions. We also found that at higher sound frequencies and higher EWL, fewer individuals were able to successfully contact all of their neighbors, particularly in the extreme and extreme climate change conditions. These results indicate that climate change-mediated aridification may disrupt the avian soundscape, such that vocal communication no longer effectively functions for mate attraction or territorial defense. As climate change progresses increased aridity in current grasslands may favor shifts toward low frequency songs, colonial resource use, and altered songbird community compositions.
27 Apr 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
28 Apr 2022Submission Checks Completed
28 Apr 2022Assigned to Editor
05 May 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
25 May 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
03 Aug 20221st Revision Received
03 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
03 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
03 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Accept