JEA 2022, 6(1), 1; doi: 10.35995/jea6010001
A Suburban Soundscape Reveals Altered Acoustic Dynamics during the COVID-19 Lockdown
1 Department of Zoology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
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Received: 2 Nov 2020 / Revised: 13 Aug 2021 / Accepted: 31 May 2022 / Published: 7 Nov 2022
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting national and international movement restrictions provide a unique opportunity to investigate the consequences of changing anthropogenic noise regimes on animal communities and soundscapes. Here, I used this lockdown period as a natural experiment to investigate changes to soundscape intensity, structure, and dynamics during restricted human activity (lockdown) in suburban Nottingham, UK. Using 11 common acoustic indices, I tested for differences in the richness and evenness of the soundscape during the COVID-19 lockdown, and I measured changes in soundscape dynamics by comparing the temporal variability of acoustic indices during versus after the lockdown. Regardless of how the soundscape was summarised, there were significant differences in the intensity, evenness, and temporal variability of the soundscape during the COVID-19 lockdown, principally driven by changes to anthropogenic noise. I recorded a shift away from a dominance of anthropophony towards more intense biological sounds during the lockdown, and the lockdown soundscape was generally more even, particularly because of changes to the magnitude of the diurnal cycle. These preliminary results from a mass human confinement experiment provide an early glimpse into how suburban soundscapes are impacted by noise pollution. In time, globally distributed longer-term monitoring efforts will reveal the generality of these findings, facilitating a mechanistic understanding of the impacts of anthropogenic noise on the world’s natural and human-dominated soundscapes.
Keywords: acoustic monitoring; acoustic index; soundscape variability; noise pollution; anthropophony; COVID-19; ecoacoustics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
Ross, S.-J. A Suburban Soundscape Reveals Altered Acoustic Dynamics during the COVID-19 Lockdown. JEA 2022, 6, 1.
Ross S-J. A Suburban Soundscape Reveals Altered Acoustic Dynamics during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Journal of Ecoacoustics. 2022; 6(1):1.
Ross, Samuel R.P.-J. 2022. "A Suburban Soundscape Reveals Altered Acoustic Dynamics during the COVID-19 Lockdown." JEA 6, no. 1: 1.