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Free Content Acoustic Stimuli Underlying Withdrawal from a Sound Source by Adult Lemon Sharks, Negaprion Brevirostris (Poey)

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The acoustical factors responsible for eliciting withdrawal (180° turn and departure) from the vicinity of a sound source by adult lemon sharks were investigated. Four sounds were examined on separate days: (1) killer whale scream, (2) 500 to 4,000 Hz noise-band (same bandwidth as the scream), (3) 500 Hz pure tone, and (4) 150–300 Hz pulsed noise-band. While the scream elicited more withdrawals than the pulsed noise-band and pure tone at similar sound pressure levels, it elicited fewer responses than the continuous noise-band. The latter result was also obtained when the scream and the continuous noise-band were played back (in alternation) on the same day. The relative effectiveness of these various sounds in eliciting withdrawal, thus, does not stem only from a species-specific recognition of a predator's call. Although sharks continued to approach the source of the 150 to 300 Hz pulsed noise-band when small incremental changes were made in sound pressure levels, withdrawal was elicited when increases involved considerable change. This suggested that withdrawal was based on stimulus magnitude and/or rate of level rise. Sharks were then exposed to one rate of increase (96 dB/sec) at several magnitudes above broad-band ambient level (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 dB) and several rates (6, 24, 96 dB/sec) at one magnitude (18 dB). Findings showed that withdrawal depended upon both the magnitude and rate of increase in level of the stimulus. Trials during a given day did not affect the occurrence of withdrawal on successive days. A decrease in response was noted when water temperature dropped below 21°C.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1979

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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