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Whispers of the Road: Unraveling the Impact of Road Noise on� Free-Living White-Footed Mice�
Michael Sheriff, Alyssa Giordano, Haleigh Nogueira. UMass Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, United States

Over the past few decades, it has become evident that human activity has a profound influence on wildlife. Roads produce a major, yet relatively unexplored, anthropogenic noise source that may directly impact wildlife and alter critical species interactions. In this talk, I will explore evidence on how road noise may alter prey’s ability to recognize and appropriately respond to predation risk cues. Using a combination of experimental manipulation and natural observation (through a gradient of road proximity) we investigated how white-footed mice are impacted by road noise and how this alters their behavioural and physiological responses to predation risk. Our results support the hypothesis that road noise masks the ability of prey to detect predator cues, reducing their risk responses, and creating a type II detection errors pertaining to the level of risk within their environment.