Study: Ocean noise may hinder fish mating

Cape Cod Times –

The party is noisy. The music and conversation drown out what you want to say.

Welcome to the world of the cod, haddock and other fish species where it’s considerably harder because it’s done in the dark, 160 feet below the ocean surface, where vital communication — essentially “Here I am, over here!” — can be lost in the constant roar of ships passing overhead. An increasingly noisy ocean may mean fish are having a hard time finding one another to spawn and navigate, according to a new study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists and published last month in the online journal Scientific Reports by Nature.

“Anthropogenic sound in certain ocean regions has increased considerably in recent decades due to various human activities such as global shipping, construction, sonar, and recreational boating,” said lead author Jenni Stanley, a postdoctoral scientist in the Passive Acoustic Research Group at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

“As ocean sound increases, so does the concern for its effects on populations of acoustic signalers, which range from invertebrates to marine mammals. We don’t know if or to what extent specific species can adapt or adjust their acoustic signals to compete in this environment.”

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