Presentation Title

Changes in Toadfish Acoustic Behavior in Relation to Tourism in Panama

Abstract

The Bocon toadfish is known for its unique mating call which functions to attract females to their territory. Recent research indicates that toadfish acoustic behavior can be impacted by boat traffic. In this study we investigate the calling behavior of the Bocon in Almirante Bay, located in the Province of Bocas del Toro, Panama Archipelago. Given the increase in boat activity at the study site, we are interested in studying how that boat activity may disrupt the acoustic behavior of the Bocon in this marine community. We used acoustic data collected by autonomous underwater recorders deployed from January to April 2019 in a coral reef community at the entrance of Almirante Bay. To determine if boat traffic affects Bocon calling activity, we are counting the calls during seasons of low and high tourism. Preliminary results indicate that low levels of Bocon acoustic activity correlate with high boat activity, suggesting that boat activity could have adverse effects on toadfish populations.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Laura J. May-Collado

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Neuroscience

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Changes in Toadfish Acoustic Behavior in Relation to Tourism in Panama

The Bocon toadfish is known for its unique mating call which functions to attract females to their territory. Recent research indicates that toadfish acoustic behavior can be impacted by boat traffic. In this study we investigate the calling behavior of the Bocon in Almirante Bay, located in the Province of Bocas del Toro, Panama Archipelago. Given the increase in boat activity at the study site, we are interested in studying how that boat activity may disrupt the acoustic behavior of the Bocon in this marine community. We used acoustic data collected by autonomous underwater recorders deployed from January to April 2019 in a coral reef community at the entrance of Almirante Bay. To determine if boat traffic affects Bocon calling activity, we are counting the calls during seasons of low and high tourism. Preliminary results indicate that low levels of Bocon acoustic activity correlate with high boat activity, suggesting that boat activity could have adverse effects on toadfish populations.