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Traffic noise exposure affects telomere length in nestling house sparrows [Biology Letters]

Keywords : anthropogenic noise, development, house sparrow, telomere length

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

In a consistently urbanizing world, anthropogenic noise has become almost omnipresent, and there are increasing evidence that high noise levels can have major impacts on wildlife. While the effects of anthropogenic noise exposure on adult animals have been widely studied, surprisingly, there has been little consideration of the effects of noise pollution on developing organisms. Yet, environmental conditions experienced in early life can have dramatic lifelong consequences for fitness. Here, we experimentally manipulated the acoustic environment of free-living house sparrows (Passer domesticus) breeding in nest boxes. We focused on the impact of such disturbance on nestlings’ telomere length and fledging success, as telomeres (the protective ends of chromosomes) appear to be a promising predictor of longevity.(...)

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