The effect of motorboat sound on Australian snapper Pagrus auratus inside and outside a marine reserve

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Abstract

Human-generated sound affects hearing, movement, and communication in both aquatic and terrestrial animals, but direct natural underwater behavioral observations are lacking. Baited underwater video (BUV) were deployed in near shore waters adjacent to Goat Island in the Cape Rodney–Okakari Point Marine Reserve (protected) or outside the reserve approximately four km south in Mathesons Bay (open), New Zealand to determine the natural behavior of Australian snapper Pagrus auratus exposed to motorboat sound. BUVs worked effectively at bringing fish into video range to assess the effects of sound. The snapper inhabiting the protected area showed no behavioral response to motorboat transits; however, fish in the open zones either scattered from the video frame or decreased feeding activity during boat presence. Our study suggests that motorboat sound, a common source of anthropogenic activity in the marine environment can affect fish behavior differently depending on the status of their habitat (protected versus open).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6438-6448
Number of pages11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume8
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • acoustics
  • baited underwater video
  • fish behavior
  • hearing
  • human-generated sound

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