The effects of traffic noise and distance on the degradation of cricket frog calls
Stinson, Patrick MacNeil
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The extent to which noise pollution affects amphibian acoustic mating systems is unknown. If mating calls are generally masked by traffic noise, it could potentially have a serious impact on threatened amphibian populations, unless acclimation or adaptation mitigates the effect. Blanchard’s cricket frog (Acris blanchardi) is abundant in high-noise areas and is known for adaptive changes in call traits on a regional scale. We measured the degradation of call bouts recorded from five different cricket frog habitats at several distances. In addition, traffic noise was recorded and played back concurrently with the call bouts at a range of different amplitudes. Call bouts from different habitats were degraded to different extents by distance and noise level, however no clear pattern emerged based on either dominant frequency or habitat. Impact of traffic noise on A. blanchardi populations will be variable, but negative since it does degrade call fidelity at all observed frequencies.