Population, Behavioural and Physiological Responses of an Urban Population of Black Swans to an Intense Annual Noise Event

TitlePopulation, Behavioural and Physiological Responses of an Urban Population of Black Swans to an Intense Annual Noise Event
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPayne, Catherine J., Jessop Tim S., Guay Patrick-Jean, Johnstone Michele, Feore Megan, Mulder Raoul A., and Iwaniuk Andrew
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Pagination1-9
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number19326203
EndNote Rec Number12770
KeywordsAnimal behavior, ANIMAL populations, BLACK swan, ENVIRONMENTAL aspects, GRAND Prix racing, NOISE pollution research, PHYSIOLOGICAL research, Research
Abstract

Wild animals in urban environments are exposed to a broad range of human activities that have the potential to disturb their life history and behaviour. Wildlife responses to disturbance can range from emigration to modified behaviour, or elevated stress, but these responses are rarely evaluated in concert. We simultaneously examined population, behavioural and hormonal responses of an urban population of black swans Cygnus atratus before, during and after an annual disturbance event involving large crowds and intense noise, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Black swan population numbers were lowest one week before the event and rose gradually over the course of the study, peaking after the event, suggesting that the disturbance does not trigger mass emigration. We also found no difference in the proportion of time spent on key behaviours such as locomotion, foraging, resting or self-maintenance over the course of the study. However, basal and capture stress-induced corticosterone levels showed significant variation, consistent with a modest physiological response. Basal plasma corticosterone levels were highest before the event and decreased over the course of the study. Capture-induced stress levels peaked during the Grand Prix and then also declined over the remainder of the study. Our results suggest that even intensely noisy and apparently disruptive events may have relatively low measurable short-term impact on population numbers, behaviour or physiology in urban populations with apparently high tolerance to anthropogenic disturbance. Nevertheless, the potential long-term impact of such disturbance on reproductive success, individual fitness and population health will need to be carefully evaluated. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Copyright of PLoS ONE is the property of Public Library of Science and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)