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  • Laura Leiva
    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • Sören Scholz
    Bielefeld University
  • Luis Giménez
  • Maarten Boersma
    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • Gabriela Torres
  • Roland Krone
    Reefauna - Spezialisten für Rifftiere
  • Nelly Tremblay
    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Offshore human activities lead to increasing amounts of underwater noise in coastal and shelf environments, which may affect commercially-important benthic invertebrate groups like the re-stocked Helgoland European lobster (Homarus gammarus) in the German Bight (North Sea). It is crucial to understand the impact tonal low-frequency noises, like maritime transport and offshore energy operations, may have on substrate choice and lobsters' behavior to assess potential benefits or bottlenecks of new hard-substrate artificial offshore environments that become available. In this study, we investigated the full factorial effect of a tonal low-frequency noise and predator presence on young-of-year (YOY) European lobsters' in a diurnal and nocturnal experiment. Rocks and European oyster shells (Ostrea edulis) were offered as substrate to YOY lobsters for 3 h. Video recordings (n = 134) allowed the identification of lobsters' initial substrate choice, diel activity and key behaviors (peeking, shelter construction, exploration and hiding). To ensure independence, YOY lobsters in the intermolt stage were randomly selected and assigned to the experimental tanks and used only once. We provide the first evidence that stressors alone, and in combination, constrain YOY lobsters' initial substrate choice towards rocks. During nighttime, the joint effect of exposure to a constant low-frequency noise and predator presence decreased antipredator behavior (i.e., hiding) and increased exploration behavior. Noise may thus interfere with YOY lobsters' attention and decision-making processes. This outcome pinpoints that added tonal low-frequency noise in the environment have the potential to influence the behavior of early-life stages of European lobsters under predator pressure and highlights the importance of including key benthic invertebrates' community relationships in anthropogenic noise risk assessments. Among others, effects of noise must be taken into consideration in plans involving the multi-use of any offshore area for decapods’ stock enhancement, aquaculture, and temporary no-take zones.

Keywords

  • Anthropogenic noise, Diel activity, Exploration behavior, Decapods, Noise pollution
Original languageEnglish
Article number118108
Number of pages1
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume291
Early online date7 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2021

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