A new study from the University of Miami has found that high sound levels from Ultra Music Festival 2019 caused “a significant stress response” in fish swimming in waters near the EDM festival’s site, similar to the stress levels that they would experience if they were being chased by a predator. Following the study’s release, Ultra announced that it is seeking a new South Florida location.
The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has an experimental hatchery and research operations on Virginia Key, the barrier island near Miami where Ultra was held this past year. During the festival, which took place in March, they conducted tests on toadfish at the hatchery and also monitored decibel levels in their tanks and the surrounding waters. On May 6, the university issued their first official findings, stating that the high volume levels caused toadfish to experience a “4-to-5-fold increase in blood cortisol, their main stress hormone, during the first night of the Ultra Music Festival.”
“The stress response was higher than what would be experienced when being chased by a simulated predator and similar to when hearing bottlenose dolphins, a toadfish predator,” said Danielle McDonald, professor of marine biology and ecology at the UM Rosenstiel School, in a statement.