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Rowdy residents warn crustaceans away from perilous reefs
Date:2/7/2011

ly development in the open ocean, but using noise to avoid reefs, that is a first."

The mechanism of hearing in these tiny creatures is poorly understood, although co-author Dr Andrew Jeffs and his group from the University of Auckland have found that both tropical and temperate water crabs and lobsters are attracted by the noise of their adult habitat. Dr Jeffs said: "It is clear that some crustaceans use sounds for orientation, and that noise can induce a downward-swimming response. But this study throws wide open our understanding of crustacean hearing, and much more research is now needed to understand how and what these little critters can hear."

Published in the journal PLoS ONE, this study provides a further example of just how important the underwater acoustic environment is to marine animals. "The natural underwater soundscape is highly variable, and provides a combined roadmap and early-warning system to a whole variety of animals as they negotiate the opportunities and hazards they encounter," said Dr Simpson.

Co-author Dr Andy Radford, who is leading a major project in Bristol to investigate the impact of anthropogenic noise on marine animals, said: "This highlights just how damaging the impacts of human noise pollution may be for so many different creatures. Chronic noise from shipping, drilling and mining may mask crucial natural sounds, causing animals to make poor or even fatal decisions, which in turn will threaten vital fisheries and tourism resources."


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Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

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