Behaviour 2019
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Challenges and opportunities of studying anuran vocal responses to traffic noise
Ana M Ospina1, Henry D Legett2, Ximena E Bernal1,3. 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States; 2Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland, United States; 3Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Ancon, Panama

Noise pollution is a pervasive issue reaching even the most secluded natural areas. Automobile traffic is a major source of anthropogenic noise due to increasing rates of urban expansion and road development. Such noise can interfere with animal communication systems, forcing signalers to adjust their signals to avoid being masked. Over the last two decades there has been an increasing number of studies assessing the effects of traffic noise on anuran vocalizations. Drawing general patterns about the impact of traffic noise on this group, however, has been difficult. Here we identify current weaknesses in this field, highlighting opportunities for improving individual studies and facilitating comparisons across studies. We reveal lack of standardized methodology and limited characterization of noise, among other factors, that restrict our ability to make broader conclusions about the impact of noise pollution on frogs and toads. We also discuss the limited repeatability of studies investigating the same species. Our review provides a synthesis to build comparable knowledge across studies to ultimately reveal overarching patterns among anurans.