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Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
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ScienceShot: Birdsong and the City
6 July 2010 7:01 pm
Faced with traffic noise and other humanmade din, city birds have taken matters into their own hands: they adjust their songs in real time to make themselves heard. Scientists have long known that bird songs vary in different settings and that urban songbirds in particular sing at a higher pitch. But they didn't know whether the variety arose through evolution—higher frequencies carried better over low-frequency urban rumble, allowing higher-singing birds to entice mates and breed high-singing offspring—or if the birds were adapting their songs to the surrounding noise in real time. To find out, researchers exposed 21 house finches to a spectrum of ambient noise recorded on a busy Mexico City street. The finches shifted the minimum frequency of their songs higher as their surroundings grew louder and returned to lower frequencies when the noise subsided. The results, which will be published online tomorrow in Biology Letters, show the birds change their songs as needed to beat the noise.