Julia Shonfield


PhD Student

Effects of industrial noise on owls in northeastern Alberta

Supervised by Erin Bayne

My PhD research will be looking at the effects of industrial noise on owl species in the boreal forest of northeastern Alberta. Owls use vocal communication to attract mates and defend territories, but also use acoustic cues when hunting for prey at night. I’ll be looking at whether vocal communication and hunting efficiency in owls is affected by chronic industrial noise. To do this, I use automated audio recorders to detect owls calling in the spring at noisy and quiet sites. My study area is the Lower Athabasca region of northeastern Alberta, an area with increasing oil and gas development, and subsequently, increasing noise in the environment. I’ll also be conducting small mammal live-trapping in the summer to look at the effect of industrial noise on prey dynamics.

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