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.

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 September 1, 2014 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 September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Icelandic authorities briefly raised the aviation warning code to red on Friday during a small eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in the Bardabunga volcano system. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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