How do animals respond to environmental change?

Rapid human-driven habitat loss and modification are leading causes of decreased biodiversity and species extinction. In response environmental change, some animals adaptively adjust their behaviors, enabling individuals to persist within modified landscapes. However, some individuals show maladaptive responses, either because they are unable to adjust their behaviors or because adjustments are not enough to counter the negative consequences of human-generated change.
Understanding why responses vary and how selection pressures from altered environments affect individuals, populations, and communities is a critical step towards mitigating associated negative environmental impacts and facilitating species conservation. Therefore, the VSU sound ecology lab seeks to uncover behavioral mechanisms underlying maladaptive responses that result in changes observed within populations and communities. In addition, we employ GIS, DNA metabarcoding, and other field techniques to ask questions of how animals respond to environmental change.