Increased noise levels have different impacts on the anti-predator behaviour of two sympatric fish species.
Public Library of Science
Animals must avoid predation to survive and reproduce, and there is increasing evidence that man-made (anthropogenic) factors can influence predator-prey relationships. Anthropogenic noise has been shown to have a variety of effects on many species, but work investigating the impact on anti-predator behaviour is rare. In this laboratory study, we examined how additional noise (playback of field recordings of a ship passing through a harbour), compared with control conditions (playback of recordings from the same harbours without ship noise), affected responses to a visual predatory stimulus. We compared the anti-predator behaviour of two sympatric fish species, the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and the European minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus), which share similar feeding and predator ecologies, but differ in their body armour. Effects of additional-noise playbacks differed between species: sticklebacks responded significantly more quickly to the visual predatory stimulus during additional-noise playbacks than during control conditions, while minnows exhibited no significant change in their response latency. Our results suggest that elevated noise levels have the potential to affect anti-predator behaviour of different species in different ways. Future field-based experiments are needed to confirm whether this effect and the interspecific difference exist in relation to real-world noise sources, and to determine survival and population consequences.
University of Bristol
Basler Stiftung für Biologische Forschung
types: Journal Article
Copyright: © 2014 Voellmy et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Vol. 9, Issue 7, pp. e102946 -
Place of publication