Tag Archive: fish

Study: Female Fish Attracted To Males Who ‘Sing’

but noise pollution kills the mood, writes Calum Mckinney, Study Finds, and it’s disrupting fish reproduction all across the world. Mckinney introduces us to Eva-Lotta Blom, a doctoral student at University of Gothenburg, who says “that a large part of the problem is that beneath the waves, sound travels much farther and almost five times faster than in the air.” One common source of noise is from ships, as the sound travels far from the source, creating a very noisy situation that would not be tolerated on land. But industrial noise from pile driving and “seismic airguns may be a bigger factor in ocean noise pollution.

And, no surprise, there are absolutely no noise regulations governing our oceans.

So, how does noise interfere with fish reproduction? Blom studied the effect of noise on gobies, and she found that “singing is critical to the male’s reproductive success.” She performed an experiment in which one tank of gobies was nice and quiet while the other was exposed to simulated boat noise. Blom found the results to be remarkable:

In the noisy environment, the fish didn’t mate much, and in the few instances they did, it took them longer. What’s more, half of the eggs in the noisy aquariums died without hatching and those that did hatch took longer to do so.

Even if you don’t care about the mating success of gobies, think about the implications of ocean noise pollution on fish stocks. With oceans already becoming more acidic and warmer, noise could be the final straw.

 

Motorboat noise makes fish bad parents

leading to the death of their babies. Marine experts at the University of Exeter have discovered that “[t]he sound of motorboat engines disturbed coral reef fish so acutely it changed the behaviour of parents, and stopped male fish properly guarding their young, feeding and interacting with their offspring.” And the effects weren’t insignificant, as the researchers “found that the death-rates of baby fish exposed to boat engine noise increased significantly, with six of the 19 boat-noise nests suffering complete mortality.”

Armed with their results, the researchers assert that the “noise from boats is a ‘global pollutant,'” and believe that it “should be factored in when trying to protect fish stocks and manage fisheries.” Dr. Steve Simpson, an expert on the impact of noise on marine life at the university, adds:

This study raises important implications for managing the noise of the 100,000s of motorboats used around the world in coral reef environments. We are now considering acoustic quiet zones and corridors, and exploring how engine and propeller development can reduce the impact of this globally prevalent pollutant.

The researchers believe that their “research into the effect of man-made noise on coral fish could have wider implications for the survival of other marine species, and even birds and mammals.”