András Weiperth H

CESSE Conference / Papers / THE SPIRIT OF THE LANDSCAPE: THE SOUND OF NATURE VS TRAFFIC NOISE / András Weiperth, Phd, Research Assistant / MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Danube Research Institute / 11:50-12:10  / 1 Dec / MOME Z

In the last decades the development of transport networking and urbanised areas were very intense in worldwide. Several part of linear infrastructure element, eg roads, railway, electric network were multiply and as a result lot of natural habitat was disappeared, separated and destroyed during the planning, design and maintenance of this projects. Not only the researchers, but the conservation biology expert have detected since the last decades that the noise pollution of man-made areas have negative effect to the population of those animal species, which use different sounds during the communication (eg. amphibians, birds, mammals).
Soundscape ecology, the science of sound in the landscape, is an emerging field which encompasses the causes and consequences of biological (biophony), geophysical (geophony), and human-produced (anthrophony) sounds to understand coupled animal and human dynamics across different scales of distance and time. It is an integrative framework that aims to describe how climate, land transformation, biodiversity patterns, and human activities interact through time to form dynamic acoustic land scales. Monitoring and studying soundscapes may illuminate physical mechanisms for ecological processes and identify courses of landscape change accurately, sensitively, and economically. Furthermore, the landscape has been reconceived as a dynamic system composed of matter, structured energy, information and meaning, thus expanding upon the more classical, geographical ecological oriented perspective. In detail, sound produced in the landscape derives from various sources including human, weather, geophysical, and bioacoustics sources. Soundscape ecology overlaps with landscape ecology since some ecological processes occurring within landscapes can be tightly linked to and reflected in patterns of soundscape.

In bioacoustics, four animal taxa are well known for intense acoustic emissions: birds, most anurans, some insects, and a few mammals. Most of these animals produce intense sounds during their breeding seasons to attract potential mates and to repel rivals, and they are usually silent at other times. Those sounds are generally the main components of the local soundscape in areas such as aquatic, semi-aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The severe consequences of anthropogenic noise on wildlife have been shown recently over a diverse array of taxa. Population density of several frogs, birds and mammals is negatively related to road traffic which could be attributed partially to the reducement in attractiveness of vocal display by traffic noise since anuran chorus behaviour might be affected by man-made acoustic interference either directly through modulating call rates of the chorus participants or indirectly, through suppressing calling behaviour of one set of species which in turn stimulated calling in other species.
Nevertheless, ecological changes in response to noise at broad-scales have not yet been examined or tracked over time. In the present study, I present that the soundscape in several area of Hungary could define as the “spirit of the landscape”. This sentence was determined in the most case by those people, who opposed the new building project in the community planning processes and helped a lot by ecologist and conservation biologist to find the most valuable natural habitats in the Carpathian basin.

András Weiperth, ecologist

Systematical fish biological and herpetological researches in freshwaters. My first research activity is focused on the spatial and temporal crayfish, fish, amphibian and reptile assemblages of the River Danube and the connected side arms and tributaries. My second research activity is focused on the ecological effects of linear infrastructures, e.g: roads, railways, channels, etc.

(Photo: Edit Répás)