Presentation Title

How do COVID-19 lockdowns impact toadfish mating call acoustic structure in Bocas del Toro, Panama?

Project Collaborators

Emma Gagne (Graduate Student Mentor), Betzi Perez, Laura J May Collado

Abstract

In many species of fish, males rely on sound for mating and competition during the spawning season. The toadfish is one example of an important sonorous fish found in near-shore communities that uses vocalization for sexual reproduction and communication. The near-constant, low-intensity sounds of boat traffic in populated shallow environments can correspond to the frequency of the mating calls male toadfish use to attract females to their nests. A previous CURE study found that toadfish in Bocas del Toro seem to respond to boat traffic by lowering their call frequency and increasing its amplitude, strategies implemented by other animals to cope with noisy environments. The COVID-19 global pandemic presents a unique opportunity to determine how calling behavior of toadfish alters in response to lockdowns in Bocas del Toro in July 2020. The assumption is that boat traffic will have decreased during the pandemic, leading toadfish to increase the frequency and decrease the amplitude of their calls. This analysis seeks to further explore the impact of human noise on toadfish acoustic structure, as well as how noisy soundscapes dominated by human activity may be acting as a selection pressure in marine organisms.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Laura May Collado

Graduate Student Mentors

Emma Gagne

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Second College (optional)

Honors College

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How do COVID-19 lockdowns impact toadfish mating call acoustic structure in Bocas del Toro, Panama?

In many species of fish, males rely on sound for mating and competition during the spawning season. The toadfish is one example of an important sonorous fish found in near-shore communities that uses vocalization for sexual reproduction and communication. The near-constant, low-intensity sounds of boat traffic in populated shallow environments can correspond to the frequency of the mating calls male toadfish use to attract females to their nests. A previous CURE study found that toadfish in Bocas del Toro seem to respond to boat traffic by lowering their call frequency and increasing its amplitude, strategies implemented by other animals to cope with noisy environments. The COVID-19 global pandemic presents a unique opportunity to determine how calling behavior of toadfish alters in response to lockdowns in Bocas del Toro in July 2020. The assumption is that boat traffic will have decreased during the pandemic, leading toadfish to increase the frequency and decrease the amplitude of their calls. This analysis seeks to further explore the impact of human noise on toadfish acoustic structure, as well as how noisy soundscapes dominated by human activity may be acting as a selection pressure in marine organisms.