Acoustic noise has the potential to cause stress, to distract and to mask important sounds, and thus to affect behaviour. Human activities have added considerable noise to both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and there is growing evidence that anthropogenic noise affects communication and movement patterns in a variety of species. However, there has been relatively little work considering the effect on behaviours that are fundamental to survival, and thus have direct fitness consequences. We conducted a series of controlled tank-based experiments to consider how playback of ship noise, the most common source of underwater noise, affects foraging and antipredator behaviour in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas. Ship noise playback was more likely than ambient-noise playback to disrupt feeding, although crabs experiencing the two sound treatments did not differ in their likelihood of, or speed at, finding a food source in the first place. While crabs exposed to ship noise playback were just as likely as ambient-noise controls to detect and respond to a simulated predatory attack, they were slower to retreat to shelter. Ship noise playback also resulted in crabs that had been turned on their backs righting themselves faster than those experiencing ambient-noise playback; remaining immobile may reduce the likelihood of further predatory attention. Our findings therefore suggest that anthropogenic noise has the potential to increase the risks of starvation and predation, and showcases that the behaviour of invertebrates, and not just vertebrates, is susceptible to the impact of this pervasive global pollutant.
Noise Negatively Affects Foraging and Antipredator Behaviour in Shore Crabs
Title: Noise Negatively Affects Foraging and Antipredator Behaviour in Shore Crabs
July 01, 2013
Journal: Animal Behaviour
Wale, M.; Simpson, S.; Radford, A. (2013). Noise Negatively Affects Foraging and Antipredator Behaviour in Shore Crabs. Animal Behaviour, 86(1), 111-118.