Plants don’t need ears to show signs of noise pollution
Noise pollution can stomp its soundprint on plants, a study of motors chugging in a Western forest finds.
Of course, plants don’t have ears, but birds and other animals hear the throb of humankind’s motors. The uproar drives away some species and sometimes encourages others, swapping their various influences on plants, says Clinton Francis of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, N.C.
Around noisy gas wells in a northwestern New Mexico woodland, Francis and his colleagues found that the reshuffling of birds and small mammals changed the odds of success for crucial steps in plant reproduction. Hummingbir