Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A dog in the hand scares birds in the bush

06.09.2007
New research showing that dog-walking in bushland significantly reduces bird diversity and abundance will lend support to bans against the practice in sensitive bushland and conservation areas.

Until now, arguments and debate about the ecological impacts of dog-walking have remained subjective and unresolved because experimental evidence has been lacking.

But the first clear evidence that birds perceive dogs as predators and avoid dog-walking areas is published today in Biology Letters, reporting research by UNSW biologist Peter Banks.

“We found in field studies that dog-walking in bushland causes a 35 percent reduction in bird diversity – the number of species – and a 41 percent reduction in abundance – the number of individual birds in an area,” says Dr Banks.

“The effect occurs even in areas where dog-walking is common and where they are prohibited, indicating that birds don’t become accustomed to continued disturbance by dogs.

“This evidence clearly supports the long term prohibition of dog-walking from sensitive conservation areas,” Banks says.

The revelation has immediate implications for popular recreation activities such as bird-watching and eco-tourism, where visitor satisfaction has a strong relationship to the number of species seen.

The experiment was conducted at 90 sites in the Hornsby-Berowra-Cowan regions, 35kms north of Sydney, Australia. The area was chosen because it contains remnants of bushland with trails that are either frequently dog-walked or where dog-walking is prohibited.

The experiment used three conditions to study dogs’ impact on birds: (1) a person walking a dog on a lead on a trail; (2) a person walking alone on a trail; (3) a control condition with no dog walking or humans.

Observers monitored all native birds seen or heard within 50 metres of a 250-metre trail. Monitoring commenced 20 seconds after the walker/dog-walker had set off and continued for 10 minutes.

Ground-dwellings birds appeared most affected: 50 percent of bird species observed in control sites were absent in dog-walked sites. The effect of dog-walking was most pronounced in the area immediately adjacent to the site where dogs were walked, according to Dr Banks.

“There were 76 fewer birds within 10 metres of the trail when dog-walking occurred compared to control sites, suggesting birds were seeking refuge away from the immediate vicinity of threat."

The particular sensitivity of ground-dwelling birds to dog-walking was of concern because it could lead to a “cascade” of behavioural changes that could further threaten these species, Dr Banks says.

Dog-walking was also likely to affect the accuracy of wildlife surveys that are used to map bird distributions around the world.

Dr. Peter Banks | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>