Science Diary: Acoustical Ecology – Loons

Science Diary: Acoustical Ecology – Loons

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Ambience: Loons, Lake Habitat

The call of a loon is one of the most magical sounds in nature. And the presence or absence of this sound can tell us something about the health of a local ecosystem. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Stuart Gage is an Acoustical Ecologist at Michigan State University. According to Stuart, the sounds of a place can tell you a lot about the health of its ecosystem.

Ambience: Loon call

For example, what can the presence or absence of loons tell us about a lake habitat?

Gage: “The loon is a very interesting indicator species of the health of an environment, and loons are very susceptible to human disturbance. So, when a lake has boats on it with people that are waterskiing or jet skiing and so on, you won’t find loons inhabiting a lake like that.”

“What I’m trying to use these acoustic assessments for is to help people understand the health of their environment and that development is fine, but overdevelopment can be a major problem. And the people who, you know, move up to this area wanting to listen to birds like loons, really enjoy them, but then they sort of overdo it, and we sort of overdevelop our environment. And, therefore, for the very purpose for which they go up there, they’ve ruined the capacity to listen to the animals that they built a cabin to go and listen to. You know, so, it’s kind of a strange thing the way that we humans are. We overexploit our resources and then wonder why the places are not as interesting or enjoyable as they once were.”

Please visit pulseplanet.com to learn more about Stuart Gage’s research. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Science Diary: Acoustical Ecology - Loons

Development and disturbance can silence the beautiful call of the common loon.
Air Date:12/14/2007
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Acoustical Ecology - Loons

music
Ambience: Loons, Lake Habitat

The call of a loon is one of the most magical sounds in nature. And the presence or absence of this sound can tell us something about the health of a local ecosystem. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Stuart Gage is an Acoustical Ecologist at Michigan State University. According to Stuart, the sounds of a place can tell you a lot about the health of its ecosystem.

Ambience: Loon call

For example, what can the presence or absence of loons tell us about a lake habitat?

Gage: "The loon is a very interesting indicator species of the health of an environment, and loons are very susceptible to human disturbance. So, when a lake has boats on it with people that are waterskiing or jet skiing and so on, you won't find loons inhabiting a lake like that."

"What I'm trying to use these acoustic assessments for is to help people understand the health of their environment and that development is fine, but overdevelopment can be a major problem. And the people who, you know, move up to this area wanting to listen to birds like loons, really enjoy them, but then they sort of overdo it, and we sort of overdevelop our environment. And, therefore, for the very purpose for which they go up there, they've ruined the capacity to listen to the animals that they built a cabin to go and listen to. You know, so, it's kind of a strange thing the way that we humans are. We overexploit our resources and then wonder why the places are not as interesting or enjoyable as they once were."

Please visit pulseplanet.com to learn more about Stuart Gage's research. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music