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Underwater Noise Impacts Fish Species, Human Activities Are Major Contributors

First Posted: Jan 28, 2016 03:25 PM EST

Noise pollution doesn't only affect humans and species that thrive on land. Researchers found that underwater noises have a negative impact on the anti-predator behaviors in endangered eels, and increases stress among eels and European sea bass, according to a study.

The researchers found that both fish species quickly recovered in behavior and physiology, after being exposed to noise for two minutes. Their observations indicated that once man-made noises are reduced or ceased, some of the impacts among the fish species can be shortened.

"These findings suggest that stopping or lessening noisy human activities can quickly reduce the impacts of man-made underwater noise seen in some fish species," Dr. Rick Bruintjes, coauthor of the study, said in a news release.

Air and water pollution are some of the contributors of global warming and ocean acidification, which impacts marine creatures. However, the researchers' study shows that man-made noises also negatively impact some marine species. Activities such as shipping, resource extraction, drilling and pile driving are some of the major generators of ocean noise.

"Our results demonstrate that noise can negatively affect both eels and seabass but, perhaps more importantly, that the impacts of single short-term noise exposures on ventilation rate and anti-predator behavior can dissipate once conditions go quiet," said Dr. Steve Simpson, coauthor of the study.

Prolonged noise exposures can lead to starvation along with disease outbreaks and relocation among fish species.

The findings of this study were published in Royal Society Open Science.

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