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Lights and noise off please, it’s time to sleep

Imagine suffering through this ordeal night after night and feeling helpless and insignificant because you can’t do anything to change it. This is the “normal” nights for urban birds, surrounded by bright lights and loud human noises, this is what we’re forcing them to adapt to. Many species are affected by these anthropogenic agents of disruption, impacting their reproductive behaviors, mortality, species diversity, and more. Ecologists would like more citizens to be involved with their research to gather important data to fully understand changes in bird behaviors.

Our Environmental Science Senior Practicum team, Loud and Bright, is developing a protocols to measure anthropogenic light and noise, in an effort to aid research on bird ecology by allowing more citizens to participate in their research.  Every step of our protocol starting from timing, measurement, weather, moon phase, technology has been carefully thought out to reduce human errors and improve results. Before constructing our protocols, we had to go to the field and test our instruments. For the noise section of our research, we measured noise levels around campus to validate our choice of using a smart phone app as a good alternative to a noise meter. For the light section, we developed a chart to estimate the level of illumination in an area visually. At night, we tested our chart around campus and in Malibu and Topanga Canyon to test our chart to different light levels.

We are finished with our noise and light protocols; however we are currently doing more light testing to improve our data. Our protocol aims to be user friendly so that anyone interested would be able to participate in it. If you are interested in learning more about our research, our team or maybe do your own measurement, check out our website. Also, look out for our how-to video coming out soon!