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New publication: sensory ecology in conservation biology

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Subject: New publication: sensory ecology in conservation biology
From: Jennifer Tennessen <>
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2020 19:35:34 +0000
Dear All,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our paper entitled "Why conservation biology can benefit from sensory ecology", in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Dominoni, D. M., Halfwerk, W., Baird, E., Buxton, R. T., Fernández-Juricic, E., Fristrup, K. M., McKenna, M. F., Mennitt, D. J., Perkin, E. K., Seymoure, B. M., Stoner, D. C., Tennessen, J. B., Toth, C. A., Tyrrell, L. P., Wilson, A., Francis, C. D., Carter, N. H. & Barber, J. R. (2020). Why conservation biology can benefit from sensory ecology. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1-10.

Global expansion of human activities is associated with the introduction of novel stimuli, such as anthropogenic noise, artificial lights and chemical agents. Progress in documenting the ecological effects of sensory pollutants is weakened by sparse knowledge of the mechanisms underlying these effects. This severely limits our capacity to devise mitigation measures. Here, we integrate knowledge of animal sensory ecology, physiology and life history to articulate three perceptual mechanisms—masking, distracting and misleading—that clearly explain how and why anthropogenic sensory pollutants impact organisms. We then link these three mechanisms to ecological consequences and discuss their implications for conservation. We argue that this framework can reveal the presence of ‘sensory danger zones’, hotspots of conservation concern where sensory pollutants overlap in space and time with an organism’s activity, and foster development of strategic interventions to mitigate the impact of sensory pollutants. Future research that applies this framework will provide critical insight to preserve the natural sensory world.

Best wishes,
Jennifer Tennessen

Jennifer B. Tennessen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scientist, contractor with Lynker, LLC
Marine Mammal & Seabird Ecology Team, Conservation Biology Division
NOAA/NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center
2725 Montlake Blvd East
Seattle, WA 98112
Phone: (206) 860-3473


Research Associate
Department of Biology
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA, 98225

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