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Anthropogenic Sound: Effects on the Behavior and Physiology of Fishes

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Anthropogenic sound in the marine environment continues to increase. Sound sources range from increased vessel traffic to transient but intense sounds such as those produced by seismic air guns, pile driving, or some sonars. While most interest in anthropogenic sounds has focused on marine mammals, there is an increasing concern regarding the impact of such sounds on fishes and marine invertebrates. Since the inner ear hearing receptors of fishes are similar to those of marine mammals, any effects seen on the hearing receptors of marine mammals may also be found in fishes and vice versa. Despite increasing interest in the effects of sounds on fishes, this issue has only been addressed on the most limited scale. Here we review the current literature in this area. It has been reported that high sound levels can damage the inner ear sensory cells, produce hearing loss (threshold shifts), elicit stress responses, and alter the behavior of fishes. At least in terms of hearing loss, these effects are modulated by exposure sound level and duration. The effects of various types of sound (e.g., impulsive vs. continuous) and long-term impacts of how anthropogenic sounds affect the behavior and ecology of fishes need exploration in the future.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2003

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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