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All that human noise has an effect on nature, too

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Mounting evidence shows that noise from traffic, oil drilling, Navy sonar and other technology can make nearby animals scatter or change their behavior. New research takes a broader perspective and asks: How does noise affect natural communities? The results indicate that noise has the potential to trigger cascading effects that could alter the structure of these communities, known as ecosystems. In nature, it's unusual for one factor to change in isolation; a change in one animal's behavior, for example, will likely have ripple effects on whatever it eats and whatever eats it. To see what was happening further down the line, researchers looked at pollination and seedling establishment of plants growing near natural gas wells in the Rattlesnake Canyon Habitat Management Area in northwestern New Mexico.

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