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Presentation Title: The Effect of Sensory Pollution on Animal Reproductive Behavior Discipline: Biology - Behavioral Ecology School: Augustana College Presentation Type: Poster Presentation Abstract: The Effect of Sensory Pollution on Animal Reproductive Behavior Christina H. Johnson, Courtney L. Moore, Daniel R. Howard, Carrie L. Hall; Augustana College Department of Biology

Wind turbines are becoming increasingly common throughout the U.S. as sources of alternative energy, and are known to produce substrate-borne (seismic) vibrations due to the motion of the rotors. The American burying beetle is an endangered beetle species that uses vertebrate carrion as its main food and breeding source. Adults of this species are thought to communicate with the larvae through stridulatory vibrations, and thus, a noisy subsoil environment could affect parent-offspring communication. We investigated the following questions: (1) do wind turbine-induced seismic vibrations influence the choice to breed on a carrion source? (2) do these low frequency vibrations influence carrion burial latency? and (3) do wind turbine-induced vibrations influence fecundity? We hypothesized that seismic noise would interfere with reproduction in the species, and would result in reduced fecundity and increased latency to breed. We used laser doppler vibrometry to record the vibrations produced by a representative wind turbine, and produced playbacks through an electromagnetic driver attached to a breeding chamber. Our results show that while parental beetles continue to mate and reproduce in the presence of vibrational noise, they take significantly longer to do so. No effect on fecundity was detected, however. We conclude that vibrational noise produced by wind turbines may in some cases constrain reproduction in this species.

Presenter: Christina Johnson Tribe: Sault St. Marie Ojibwe Primary Email: Biography My name is Christina Johnson, and I am a junior biology major at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I am interested in ecology and hope to attend graduate school after graduation. I am currently working on a research project in integrative animal behavior. I am performing this research voluntarily with other undergraduate students under the supervision of Dr. Daniel R. Howard, an assistant biology professor at Augustana College. We are examining the influence of vibrational noise on the reproductive behavior of an endangered insect species. I look forward to presenting my research at the 2011 AISES National Conference.


2011 National Conference Student Research Abstracts  
2011 National Conference Student Research Abstracts  

A comprehensive list of the student research topics that will be presented at the AISES 2011 National Conference