Sound and urban change: “sounds of nature” and upscale life in Austin, Texas

Austin's "Triangle" in north campus (2003)

Austin, Texas. North campus, in 2003

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“The Triangle”  in 2011, when I made the recording.

“Male frogs call to attract females for mating and to defend territories from rival males. Female frogs of some species prefer lower-pitched calls, which indicate larger, more experienced males. Acoustic interference occurs when background noise reduces the active distance or the distance over which an acoustic signal can be detected. Birds are known to call at a higher pitch or frequency in urban noise, decreasing acoustic interference from low-frequency noise. Using Bayesian linear regression, we investigated the effect of traffic noise on the pitch of advertisement calls in two species of frogs, the southern brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii) and the common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera). We found evidence that L. ewingii calls at a higher pitch in traffic noise, with an average increase in dominant frequency of 4.1 Hz/dB of traffic noise, and a total effect size of 123 Hz. (more…)