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Noise pollution impacts fish species differently

Date:
July 24, 2014
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study that tested fish anti-predator behavior. The current study demonstrates species-specific differences in response to noise, potentially driven by a range of underlying behavioral and physiological mechanisms.

Three-spined sticklebacks responded sooner to a flying seagull predator model when exposed to additional noise.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bristol

Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter which tested fish anti-predator behaviour.

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Three-spined sticklebacks responded sooner to a flying seagull predator model when exposed to additional noise, whereas no effects were observed in European minnows.

Lead author Dr Irene Voellmy of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences said: "Noise levels in many aquatic environments have increased substantially during the last few decades, often due to increased shipping traffic. Potential impacts of noise on aquatic ecosystems are therefore of growing concern."

The team, which included Dr Julia Purser, Dr Steve Simpson and Dr Andrew Radford, used controlled laboratory experiments to investigate how acoustic disturbance, generated by playbacks of ship noise, changed the anti-predator behaviour of minnows and sticklebacks.

Dr Radford warned: "As appropriate anti-predator behaviour is crucial for survival, any detrimental effects of noise could lead to fitness consequences."

The current study demonstrates species-specific differences in response to noise, potentially driven by a range of underlying behavioral and physiological mechanisms.

Dr Simpson added: "If we want to effectively manage noise in the marine environment, we next need to assess the spatial scale over which individual animals and populations are affected. This means taking experiments like this one to offshore environments near to real-world noise sources."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Irene K. Voellmy, Julia Purser, Stephen D. Simpson, Andrew N. Radford. Increased Noise Levels Have Different Impacts on the Anti-Predator Behaviour of Two Sympatric Fish Species. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e102946 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102946

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Noise pollution impacts fish species differently." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724141614.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2014, July 24). Noise pollution impacts fish species differently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724141614.htm
University of Bristol. "Noise pollution impacts fish species differently." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724141614.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

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