Scientific research often turns up unexpected findings. Consider a recent study about how noise pollution impacts forests in the Southwest.
Previous studies had shown that the Black-chinned Hummingbird seemed to have a high tolerance for areas with extreme noise pollution, while another bird, the Scrub Jay, was sensitive to noise and avoided noisy areas.
Now, Scrub Jays are known to prey on the eggs and young of the hummingbirds; therefore, the conclusion is that the hummingbirds choose to frequent areas which the jays avoid. In other words, the hummers are using noise pollution as a defense against the jays. The latest study now shows how this dynamic affects forests.
Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of flowers and, in so doing, they pollinate the flowers and help to increase their numbers. Scrub Jays feed on pinyon pine cones and, in so doing, they spread seeds of the pines and increase the number of trees. But in areas of excessive noise, the number of flowers are increasing (thanks to the hummingbirds) and the number of pine trees is decreasing because there are fewer jays there to spread the seeds.
Everything is interconnected. Even things, which on the surface seem to be totally unrelated, upon closer examination are shown to be inextricably intertwined. Thus, changing one factor - increasing human-produced noise pollution - affects everything else in the ecosystem. So changes are wrought upon the landscape and so the laws of evolution and natural selection apply to even the smallest things.