Motorboat noise impacts parental behaviour and offspring survival in a reef fish

Nedelec, Sophie L., Radford, Andrew N., Pearl, Leanne, Nedelec, Brendan, McCormick, Mark I., Meekan, Mark G., and Simpson, Stephen D. (2017) Motorboat noise impacts parental behaviour and offspring survival in a reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 284 (1856). 20170143.

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Abstract

Anthropogenic noise is a pollutant of international concern, with mounting evidence of disturbance and impacts on animal behaviour and physiology. However, empirical studies measuring survival consequences are rare. We use a field experiment to investigate how repeated motorboat-noise playback affects parental behaviour and offspring survival in the spiny chromis (Acanthochromis polyacanthus), a brooding coral reef fish. Repeated observations were made for 12 days at 38 natural nests with broods of young. Exposure to motorboat-noise playback compared to ambient-sound playback increased defensive acts, and reduced both feeding and offspring interactions by brood-guarding males. Anthropogenic noise did not affect the growth of developing offspring, but reduced the likelihood of offspring survival; while offspring survived at all 19 nests exposed to ambient-sound playback, six of the 19 nests exposed to motorboat-noise playback suffered complete brood mortality. Our study, providing field-based experimental evidence of the consequences of anthropogenic noise, suggests potential fitness consequences of this global pollutant.

Item ID: 50723
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: anthropogenic noise, parental care, pollution, Lizard Island, motorboat-noise playback
Additional Information:

Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship (NERC), UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UKDEFRA), Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CE), EPSRC studentship and Subacoustech
Projects and Grants: NERC NE/J500616/2, UKDEFRA ME5207, ARC CE EI140100117
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 11:20
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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