Exposure to boat noise in the field yields minimal stress response in wild reef fish

Staaterman, E., Gallagher, A.J., Holder, P.E., Reid, C.H., Altieri, A.H., Ogburn, M.B., Rummer, J.L., and Cooke, S.J. (2020) Exposure to boat noise in the field yields minimal stress response in wild reef fish. Aquatic Biology, 29. pp. 93-103.

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Aquatic anthropogenic noise is on the rise, with growing concern about its impact on species that are sensitive to low-frequency sounds (e.g. most fish and invertebrates). We investigated whether the reef fish Halichoeres bivittatus living in both noisy and quiet areas had differing levels of baseline stress (measured as whole-body cortisol) and whether they would exhibit a physiological stress response when exposed to boat noise playbacks. While the playback experiments significantly increased cortisol levels in fish from our experiment compared to baseline levels, there were minimal pairwise differences across treatments and no difference in baseline stress for fish living in noisy vs. quiet areas. These results may be explained by low overall auditory sensitivity, habituation to a fairly noisy environment (due to biological sounds), or that boat noise simply may not represent an immediate threat to survival in this species. These findings contrast recent studies that have shown elevated stress responses in fishes when exposed to boat noise and highlights that inter-specific differences must be considered when evaluating potential impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine life.

Item ID: 63576
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1864-7790
Keywords: Anthropogenic noise, Reef fish, Stress
Copyright Information: © The authors 2020. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.
Funders: Smithsonian Institution (SI), Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Program
Projects and Grants: SI MarineGEO Postdoctoral Fellowship, SI STRI Fellowship, ARC Early Career Discovery Fellowship PDE150101266
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2020 07:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
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