Presentation Title

Toadfish calling activity decreases with boat traffic

Presenter's Name(s)

Isabel MizeFollow

Time

11:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Food & Environmental Sciences

Abstract

Toadfish (Batrachoididae) males produce a long-duration tonal advertisement call, the boatwhistle. While these calls do not propagate more than a few meters, they do have a directional nature that can be detected by females. Given the importance of these calls for the reproductive success of the males and the overall health of the population, understanding the impact of increasing noise levels in the oceans is of great urgency. Here I estimate the impact of boat traffic on the daily acoustic activity of toadfish (presence/absence) and syllable emission of toadfish in the Archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Data was collected using passive acoustic recorders in two sites that are similar in habitat structure but differ in levels of boat activity. The results indicate that vocal activity and syllable emission decreases significantly in the site with high boat presence. In the low boat traffic site, toadfish are acoustically active throughout the day, while in the high boat traffic site high vocal activity is before 6 a.m. and after 6 p.m. This study shows that fish acoustic communication is significantly hindered by boat traffic and that toadfish must shift the time of day when they produce calls in order to accommodate for the vessel noise.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Professor Laura May-Collado

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Secondary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Toadfish calling activity decreases with boat traffic

Toadfish (Batrachoididae) males produce a long-duration tonal advertisement call, the boatwhistle. While these calls do not propagate more than a few meters, they do have a directional nature that can be detected by females. Given the importance of these calls for the reproductive success of the males and the overall health of the population, understanding the impact of increasing noise levels in the oceans is of great urgency. Here I estimate the impact of boat traffic on the daily acoustic activity of toadfish (presence/absence) and syllable emission of toadfish in the Archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Data was collected using passive acoustic recorders in two sites that are similar in habitat structure but differ in levels of boat activity. The results indicate that vocal activity and syllable emission decreases significantly in the site with high boat presence. In the low boat traffic site, toadfish are acoustically active throughout the day, while in the high boat traffic site high vocal activity is before 6 a.m. and after 6 p.m. This study shows that fish acoustic communication is significantly hindered by boat traffic and that toadfish must shift the time of day when they produce calls in order to accommodate for the vessel noise.