Impact of motorboats on fish embryos depends on engine type
Oxford University Press (OUP) for Society for Experimental Biology (SEB)
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Human generated noise is changing the natural underwater soundscapes worldwide. The most pervasive sources of underwater anthropogenic noise are motorboats, which have been found to negatively affect several aspects of fish biology. However, few studies have examined the effects of noise on early life stages, especially the embryonic stage, despite embryo health being critical to larval survival and recruitment. Here, we used a novel setup to monitor heart rates of embryos from the staghorn damselfish (Amblyglyphidodon curacao) in shallow reef conditions, allowing us to examine the effects ofin situboat noise in context with real-world exposure. We found that the heart rate of embryos increased in the presence of boat noise, which can be associated with the stress response. Additionally, we found 2-stroke outboard-powered boats had more than twice the effect on embryo heart rates than did 4-stroke powered boats, showing an increase in mean individual heart rate of 1.9% and 4.6%, respectively. To our knowledge this is the first evidence suggesting boat noise elicits a stress response in fish embryo and highlights the need to explore the ecological ramifications of boat noise stress during the embryo stage. Also, knowing the response of marine organisms caused by the sound emissions of particular engine types provides an important tool for reef managers to mitigate noise pollution.
Research was funded by the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (EI140100117), an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship awarded to S.J.S. from James Cook University and a UK Natural Environment Research Council grant to S.D.S. (NE/P001572/1).
This is the final version of the article. Available from Oxford University Press via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 6 (1), article coy014
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