Marine noise pollution stresses and confuses fish
Date: August 10, 2017
Source: Newcastle University
Summary: Increased noise pollution in the oceans is confusing fish and compromising their ability to recognise and avoid predators.
Researchers at Newcastle University (UK) found that European sea bass experienced higher stress levels when exposed to the types of piling and drilling sounds made during the construction of offshore structures.
The fish also showed signs of being confused when they encountered a potential predator while exposed to these underwater noises. When researchers played recordings of piling sounds and mimicked an approaching predator, the seabass made more turns and failed to move away from the predator.
When exposed to drilling sounds the sea bass actively avoided these areas, spending more time in what the research team called the 'safe zone'.
The fish also took longer to recover from exposure to the underwater sounds.
Lead researcher Ilaria Spiga explained: "Over the last few decades, the sea has become a very noisy place. The effects we saw were subtle changes, which may well have the potential to disrupt the seabass's ability to remain 'in tune' with its environment.
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