Boat noise in an estuarine soundscape – A potential risk on the acoustic communication and reproduction of soniferous fish in the May River, South Carolina

TitleBoat noise in an estuarine soundscape – A potential risk on the acoustic communication and reproduction of soniferous fish in the May River, South Carolina
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSmott, Somers, Monczak Agnieszka, Miller Michaela E., and Montie Eric W.
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume133
Pagination246-260
ISBN Number0025-326X
EndNote Rec Number12047
Keywordsacoustic communication, Black drum, Boat noise, Fish sound production, oyster toadfish, Red drum, Silver perch, Spawning, Spotted seatrout
Abstract

The impact of boat related noise on marine life is a subject of concern, particularly for fish species that utilize acoustic communication for spawning purposes. The goal of this study was to quantify and examine the risk of boat noise on fish acoustic communication by performing acoustic monitoring of the May River, South Carolina (USA) from February to November 2013 using DSG-Ocean recorders. The number of boats detected increased from the source to the mouth with the highest detections near the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Boat noise frequency ranges overlapped with courtship sounds of silver perch (Bairdiella chrysoura), black drum (Pogonias cromis), oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). In the May River estuary, red drum may experience the greatest risk of auditory masking because of late afternoon choruses (21% time overlap with boat noise) and only one spawning location near the noisy ICW.