Condition-dependent responses of fish to motorboats

Harding, H.R., Gordon, T.A.C., Wong, K., McCormick, M.I., Simpson, S.D., and Radford, A.N. (2020) Condition-dependent responses of fish to motorboats. Biology Letters, 16 (11). 20200401.

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Anthropogenic noise is a pollutant of global concern that has been shown to have a wide range of detrimental effects on multiple taxa. However, most noise studies to-date consider only overall population means, ignoring the potential for intraspecific variation in responses. Here, we used field experiments on Australia's Great Barrier Reef to assess condition-dependent responses of blue-green damselfish (Chromis viridis) to real motorboats. Despite finding no effect of motorboats on a physiological measure (opercular beat rate; OBR), we found a condition-dependent effect on anti-predator behaviour. In ambient conditions, startle responses to a looming stimulus were equivalent for relatively poor- and good-condition fish, but when motorboats were passing, poorer-condition fish startled at significantly shorter distances to the looming stimulus than better-condition fish. This greater susceptibility to motorboats in poorer-condition fish may be the result of generally more elevated stress levels, as poorer-condition fish had a higher pre-testing OBR than those in better condition. Considering intraspecific variation in responses is important to avoid misrepresenting potential effects of anthropogenic noise and to ensure the best management and mitigation of this pervasive pollutant.

Item ID: 66661
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-957X
Keywords: anthropogenic noise, body condition, fish behaviour, intraspecific variation, noise pollution
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: NERC Marine Scotland CASE GW4+ studentship, Grant no. NE/L002434/1, NERC Australian Institute of Marine Science CASE GW4+ studentship, Grant no. NE/L002434/1, Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP170103372, NERC grant no. NE/P001572/1
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 00:19
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310403 Biological adaptation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 100%
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