Koalas- Sounds

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“You’re really listening to a soundscape that has come through from prehistoric times.”

Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Alistair Melzer studies the behavior of koalas on St. Bees Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

“One of the first things that strikes you about living with a population of koalas in a relatively undisturbed part of the Australian bush is the sound. The Australian forest is dynamic at night. And if you’re living in a koala population, you get to hear sounds that have been trumpeted across the Australian landscape for millions of years. So, in the breeding season for koalas, which from October through to January or February, the male koalas that are quite territorial, are calling across the landscape. And one koala will call, another koala will respond and then, other koalas will call, and there’ll be this chorus of calls that’ll run around the landscape.”

Ambience: male koalas calling

“What you heard then was a classic example of one male koala calling, then triggering a territorial response from a second koala, that then triggered a territorial response from a third koala. It is a chorus of male koalas calling.”

We’ll hear more about the koalas of St. Bees Island in future programs. Please check out our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Koalas- Sounds

You'll never think of koalas as placid, leaf-chewing marsupials again after hearing the racket they make during breeding season!
Air Date:04/19/2017
Scientist:
Transcript:

music

"You're really listening to a soundscape that has come through from prehistoric times."

Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Alistair Melzer studies the behavior of koalas on St. Bees Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

"One of the first things that strikes you about living with a population of koalas in a relatively undisturbed part of the Australian bush is the sound. The Australian forest is dynamic at night. And if you're living in a koala population, you get to hear sounds that have been trumpeted across the Australian landscape for millions of years. So, in the breeding season for koalas, which from October through to January or February, the male koalas that are quite territorial, are calling across the landscape. And one koala will call, another koala will respond and then, other koalas will call, and there'll be this chorus of calls that'll run around the landscape."

Ambience: male koalas calling

"What you heard then was a classic example of one male koala calling, then triggering a territorial response from a second koala, that then triggered a territorial response from a third koala. It is a chorus of male koalas calling."

We'll hear more about the koalas of St. Bees Island in future programs. Please check out our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music