Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Listen up: Oysters may use sound to select a home

Date:
October 30, 2013
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Oysters begin their lives as tiny drifters, but when they mature they settle on reefs. New research shows that the sounds of the reef may attract the young oysters, helping them locate their permanent home.

Oysters begin their lives as tiny drifters, but when they mature they settle on reefs. New research from North Carolina State University shows that the sounds of the reef may attract the young oysters, helping them locate their permanent home.

Related Articles


Larval oysters are planktonic, meaning that they cannot swim against or across currents. However, they do have the ability to move up and down within the column of water that they’re in. As they mature, they develop a muscular “foot” that they can use to sense the terrain along the ocean floor. When they find the right spot, they attach themselves and remain there throughout their lives.

Ashlee Lillis, an NC State Ph.D. candidate in marine sciences, wondered how the tiny oysters knew when to drop down and start looking for a home. Scientists know that larval oysters and other bivalves, like clams, respond to some chemical and physical signals in seawater, but Lillis wondered if the sound of the reef played a role.

“When you’re as small as these larvae, even if you’re only 10 or 15 feet up in a water column you wouldn’t have any real sense of where you were in terms of the seafloor beneath you,” Lillis says. “But an ocean reef has very loud, distinct sounds associated with it. They’re noisy enough to be heard by scuba divers and snorkelers. Even though oysters don’t have ears and hear like we do, they might be able to sense the vibration from the sounds of the reef.”

Lillis and her adviser David Eggleston, professor of marine sciences, decided to test the hypothesis. With help from NC State geophysicist Del Bohnenstiehl, the team first made underwater sound recordings of oyster reefs and the open seafloor. Then they tested larval oysters in the wild and in the lab to determine if the settlement rates increased when they were exposed to reef sounds versus those from further out.

The team found an increased settlement rate in both the lab and the wild when the larvae were exposed to reef sounds. Their results appear in PLOS ONE.

“The ocean has different soundscapes, just like on land,” Lillis says. “Living in a reef is like living in a busy urban area: there are a lot of residents, a lot of activity and a lot of noise. By comparison, the seafloor is more like living in the quiet countryside.

“This research is the first step in establishing what normal, healthy reef environments sound like,” Lillis adds. “If we can figure out how the noise impacts oysters it may give us strategies for establishing new oyster beds. It might also give us a noninvasive method for keeping tabs on the health of our undersea reefs.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ashlee Lillis, David B. Eggleston, and DelWayne R. Bohnenstiehl. Oyster larvae settle in response to habitat-associated underwater sounds. PLOS ONE, October 2013

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Listen up: Oysters may use sound to select a home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030185151.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2013, October 30). Listen up: Oysters may use sound to select a home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030185151.htm
North Carolina State University. "Listen up: Oysters may use sound to select a home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030185151.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) For the second time in two months, a rare weather phenomenon filled the Grand Canyon with thick clouds just below the rim on Wednesday. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 29, 2015) Time lapse video captures a blanket of clouds amassing in the Grand Canyon -- the result of a rare meteorological process called "cloud inversion." Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins