Boat Noise Makes Fish Bad Parents

Julie Reindl
July 4th 2017

Noise, with 7.423.642.565 people living on the planet we produce a lot of it, and everyone knows how exhausting and tiring the exposure to noise can be. We, humans, are able to escape loud places, but other species have to deal with the sounds we produce and its consequences. For instance, the sound of motorboat engines disturbs coral reef fish so acutely it changes their behavior, making them loose their parenting skills.

Scientists at the University of Exeter discovered that fish get so distracted by the noise of boat engines that their abilities to protect, feed and interact with their offspring decrease immensely. Tested with an audio experiment, 38 natural fish nests where put under constant sound by either motor or unpolluted natural reef buzz. The experiment showed that male fish exposed to the engine sound, got so confused and stressed that they rather spend time attacking harmless fish instead of protecting and caring for their nest.

Unlike birds that build their nests out of the plastic trash we produce, those confused fish cannot find a proper way to deal with the effects of our culture. So maybe this is again a task for us to make our culture resonate with our surroundings.

Source: Sciencedaily. Image: Turks and Caicos

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