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Singing in the right Cay?: Fish choruse contributions to soundscapes, Miles Parsons [et al.]

Singing in the right Cay?: Fish choruse contributions to soundscapes, Miles Parsons [et al.]

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Sound production mechanism in the boxfish

Ostracion meleagris and O. cubicus

Eric Parmentier ∗ 1 , Laura Solagna 1 , Fr´ed´eric Bertucci 1 , Michael Fine 2 ,

Masanori Nakae 3 , Philippe Comp`ere 1 , Smeets Sarah 1 , David Lecchini



Laboratory of Functional and Evolutionary Morphology – Campus du Sart Tilman - Bˆat. B6c All´ee

de la Chimie, 3 4000 Li`ege 1, Belgium


Virginia Commonwelath University – Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University,

Richmond, VA 23284, USA, United States


National Museum of Nature and Science – Department of Zoology National Museum of Nature and

Science 4-1-1 Amakubo, Tsukuba Ibaraki 305-0005, Japan


Centre de recherches insulaires et observatoire de l’environnement (CRIOBE) – Universit´e de

Perpignan Via Domitia, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Centre National de la Recherche

Scientifique : USR3278 – BP 1013 Papetoiai 98729 PAPETOAI, France


Centre de recherches insulaires et observatoire de l’environnement (CRIOBE) – Universit´e de

Perpignan Via Domitia, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Centre National de la Recherche

Scientifique : USR3278 – BP 1013 Papetoiai 98729 PAPETOAI, France

Different reviews have underlined the growing diversity of sound-producing mechanism in

fishes. Most mechanisms, resulting from evolutionary convergences, employ high-speed muscles

(contraction rate between 50 and 300 Hz) that insert in part or totally on the swimbladder. In

these species, the contraction rate dictates the fundamental frequency of the sounds. The ability

to produce sounds has already been reported in boxfish: spotted trunkfish Ostracion meleagris is

known to produce sounds during courtship and agonistic behavior. We describe here additional

sound types in O. meleagris and report for the first time sounds in O. cubicus. Sounds are

exceptional since they produce two distinct sounds in a sequence. Humming sounds consist of

long series (up to 45s) of regular low-amplitude pulses. Clock sounds have at least ten times

greater amplitude and are typically interspersed with hums, underlining the array of messages

these fish produce. There is no relationships between fish size in acoustic characteristics. This

unique ability relies on a T-shaped swimbladder with a swimbladder fenestra and two separate

sound-producing muscles. An extrinsic vertical muscle attaches to the vertebral column and the

swimbladder. Perpendicularly and below this muscle, a longitudinal intrinsic muscle covers the

swimbladder fenestra. We suggest that hums and clocks are produced by separate muscles.



Soundtrack of the Anthropocene: Impacts

of global change on coral reef communities

in the 21st Century

Steve Simpson


∗ 1

Biosciences, College of Life Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter – Geoffrey Pope Stocker

Road Exeter EX4 4QD, United Kingdom

In early life, the vast majority of coral reef organisms face four major tests that together

determine dispersal, survival and population replenishment. Once larvae are sufficiently well

developed to leave their early-life open-water environments, they must locate reefs, select suitable

habitat, settle at locations with sufficient shelter, and avoid the immediate attention of many

predators. Over the past 15 years, we have discovered the importance of the natural soundscape

(combined with other cues) for guiding fish, crustacean and coral larvae towards reefs while

allowing them to avoid predation. Reef noise is generated by the resident community, so reefs

sound characteristically different and sound indicates the composition of the community and

quality of the habitat, enabling larvae to locate and settle into appropriate microhabitat. But we

live in an era of global change, with overfishing and environmental degradation compromising reef

quality and associated reef noise, rising levels of atmospheric CO2 causing global warming and

ocean acidification, and the noise of motorboats, ships, offshore industry and naval operations

modifying natural soundscapes. Our recent work demonstrates that habitat degradation can

alter natural soundscapes, ocean acidification can affect auditory behaviour of larvae, and that

motorboat noise can affect orientation and settlement in larval fish and behaviour, physiology

and survival of newly-settled reef fish. Following a summary of these studies, I will discuss

current knowledge gaps and identify opportunities to manage and enhance the Soundtrack of

the Anthropocene.



The influence of habitat degradation on the

susceptibility of coral reef fish to motorboat


Harry Harding

∗† 1

, Tim Gordon 2 , Katy Wong 3 , Mark Mccormick 4 ,

Stephen Simpson 2 , Andrew Radford 1


University of Bristol – School of Biological Sciences University of Bristol Bristol Life Sciences Building

24 Tyndall Avenue Bristol BS8 1TQ, United Kingdom


Exeter University – Biosciences College of Life and Environmental Sciences Geoffrey Pope University

of Exeter Stocker Road Exeter EX4 4QD, UK, United Kingdom


Duke University – Department of Biology, 130 Science Drive, Duke University, Durham, North

Carolina 27708, USA., United States


James Cook University – Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and

School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811,

Australia., Australia

Anthropogenic (man-made) noise permeates multiple biomes and is a pollutant of global concern, being included in environmental legislation around the world. Such noise is produced both

intentionally (e.g. seismic and sonar) and as a by-product of our activities (e.g. pile-driving,

commercial shipping and motorboats). Motorboat noise is increasing globally due to both human population growth and the development of recreation and tourism in coastal areas. Marine

fauna in such areas, including coral reefs, are therefore likely to suffer acoustic disturbances

more frequently. Motorboat noise has been shown to affect fish orientation, communication,

anti-predator behaviour and physiology, and to have negative impacts on fitness. However, organismal responses to anthropogenic noise are likely influenced by the broader environmental

context in which they live. How other stressors affect the impact of noise has received little

experimental testing, especially in natural conditions. In the past two years, the Great Barrier

Reef (GBR), a system of high and increasing motorboat use, has been severely impacted by

multiple climate-induced bleaching events and storm damage, resulting in widespread habitat

degradation. Here, we tested whether habitat degradation influences the susceptibility of fish to

short-term exposure to motorboat noise. In a large multi-site field experiment, using ventilation

rate as a physiological response measure, we exposed Chromis viridis (blue green damselfish)

from non-degraded and degraded habitats to real motorboat noise or ambient sound. Having

found a difference in response, we then assessed body condition as a potential underlying mechanism, testing the anti-predator and physiological responses of ‘good’ and ‘poor’ quality fish to

real motorboats or ambient sound. Poor-quality individuals were more strongly affected than

good-quality fish when exposed to motorboat noise. An increased impact of anthropogenic noise

in degraded habitats would likely have consequences for reef recovery following environmental

disturbance events, and should be considered in future management decisions on noise mitigation



Corresponding author: harry.harding@bristol.ac.uk


The use of baited underwater video to

monitor fish behaviour in response to boat

motor noise

Craig Radford



∗ 1

, Allen Mensinger 2 , Rosalyn Putland


Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland (IMS) – Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of

Auckland, 160 Goat Island Road, Leigh, 0985, New Zealand


University of Minnesota - Duluth – Duluth Minnesota, United States

Institute of Marine Science – Leigh Marine Laboratory, Institute of Marine Science PO Box 349, New


Human generated noise affects hearing, movement and communication in both aquatic and

terrestrial animals, but direct natural underwater behavioral observations are lacking. Baited

underwater video (BUV) equipped with hydrophones were deployed inside and outside a marine

reserve to observe fish behavior during motorboat transits. BUVs were effective in attracting

fishes to within camera range with fish numbers plateauing within 20 minutes of deployment.

The fish assemblages were dominated by snapper (Pagrus auratus). A boat equipped with a

60 HP 4 stroke engine made two passes past the BUV and then circled the area three times.

Video was analyzed for fish number, interactions with the bait jar, and intraspecific interactions. Preliminary results suggest that fishes inhabiting the protected area showed less response

to motorboat transits compared to fishes outside the area. The experiments suggest that anthropogenic noise in the marine environment can effect fish behavior and that BUVs provide

the capability to monitor these interactions.



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