AC/DC: Apparently Rock & Roll IS Noise Pollution!

posted by Mike Bell - 

Researchers at Mississippi State University recently conducted a study to examine the effect of various music and sounds on ecosystems.

Department of Biology assistant professor Brandon Barton says the study was inspired while he was listening to AC/DC's "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution." He explains, “I thought to myself, rock and roll ain’t noise pollution, that’s a testable hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis is that rock and roll is noise pollution.”

So, along with his students, Barton placed samples of Asian ladybugs in controlled environments with soybeans infested with aphids, a common pest of plants, and blasted them with music from AC/DC, The Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson, Guns n' Roses and Metallica. They then measured the biomass of the plants and the number of aphids remaining after a given period of time.

Barton says they “immediately discovered that after about a day or a half day, 15 hours or so, the ones who had been exposed to the hard rock music, AC/DC, or even the city sounds, those loud kind of harsh sounds really reduced the number of aphids [the ladybugs] consumed by a lot... That noise must simulate a predator or some other disturbance in the environment, so they stop feeding and maybe spend more time watching for predators, but it could also be that the music just makes it harder to catch an aphid.”

Barton dedicated the paper to AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who died as it was completed.

Mike Bell

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