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Cephalopods experience massive acoustic trauma from noise pollution in the oceans
Date:4/11/2011

Noise pollution in the oceans has been shown to cause physical and behavioral changes in marine life, especially in dolphins and whales, which rely on sound for daily activities. However, low frequency sound produced by large scale, offshore activities is also suspected to have the capacity to cause harm to other marine life as well. Giant squid, for example, were found along the shores of Asturias, Spain in 2001 and 2003 following the use of airguns by offshore vessels and examinations eliminated all known causes of lesions in these species, suggesting that the squid deaths could be related to excessive sound exposure.

Michel Andr, Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, and colleagues examined the effects of low frequency sound exposuresimilar to what the giant squid would have experienced in Asturiasin four cephalopod species. As reported in an article published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (e-View), a journal of the Ecological Society of America, all of the exposed squid, octopus and cuttlefish exhibited massive acoustic trauma in the form of severe lesions in their auditory structures.

The researchers exposed 87 individual cephalopodsspecifically, Loligo vulgaris, Sepia officinalis, Octopus vulgaris and Illex coindetito short sweeps of relatively low intensity, low frequency sound between 50 and 400 Hertz (Hz) and examined their statocysts. Statocysts are fluid-filled, balloon-like structures that help these invertebrates maintain balance and positionsimilar to the vestibular system of mammals. The scientists' results confirmed that statocysts indeed play a role in perceiving low frequency sound in cephalopods.

Andr and colleagues also found that, immediately following exposure to low frequency sound, the cephalopods showed hair cell damage within the statocysts. Over time, nerve fibers became swollen and, eventually, large holes appearedthese lesions became gradually more pronounced in individual
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Contact: Nadine Lymn
nadine@esa.org
202-833-8773
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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