Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

A PCAD-model for fish to study the impact of airgun sound exposure on free-ranging cod

We are developing the conceptual framework, which is new to this taxonomic group, and evaluate the current state of the art with respect to all critical parameters and transfer functions for a fully developed Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance (PCAD) model.

Duration
2015  -   2016
Contact
Hans Slabbekoorn
Funding
Joint Industry Programme on E&P Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Programme on E&P Sound and Marine Life
Partners

Dr. Martina Vijver, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML)

Prof. Michael Ainslie, TNO

Dr. Erwin Winter, Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies (IMARES)

Dr. Jan Reubens, Ghent University

Prof. John Harwood, University of St Andrews

Prof. Len Thomas, University of St Andrews

Dr. Ingebrigt Uglem, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)

Dr. Lise Doksaeter Sivle, Havforskningsinstituttet Institute of Marine Research Bergen (IMR)

This project concerns a theoretical study (Phase 1) into the effects of airgun exposure on fish using the Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCoD) approach. We are developing the conceptual framework, which is new to this taxonomic group, and evaluate the current state of the art with respect to all critical parameters and transfer functions for a fully developed Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance (PCAD) model. We are also determining whether expert elicitation, theoretical modelling or practical data collection will be most useful and cost-effective to fill in gaps of knowledge.

As part of the process, we have organized a multi-day workshop in January 2016 in the Lorentz Center and brought together experts in the field of PCAD, environmental impact assessment, underwater acoustics, various types of modelling, fish behaviour and physiology, and fisheries and stock development. The outcome of the exploration will yield a report that will provide insight into what information is currently lacking and how the JIP can best invest into subsequent research efforts (Phase 2).

Several good studies on the impact of seismic surveys on fisheries exist in the literature, but studies that focus on the fish perspective are few and only provide preliminary insights due to limitations in replication and controls. Furthermore, so far, behavioural effects have never been translated any further into individual fitness consequences or population-level impact. The PCAD-model will consider acute and chronic effects for juvenile and adult stages of cod (Gadus morhua), a commercially and ecologically valuable demersal fish species.

Assessment of behavioural effects of seismic surveys may require investigations of free-ranging fish before, during and after real airgun sound exposure with adequate replication across ecological and acoustic settings and with appropriate controls. Furthermore, acoustic threshold levels, critical exposure parameters and physiological consequences can likely be best investigated in semi-wild ranging fish in floating pens exposed to natural sound field conditions. However, the current desk study will enable the offshore oil and gas industry to better understand whether and how these studies should be conducted and whether and how they might need to mitigate the effects of sound-producing activities such as seismic operations on fish. 

  • Slabbekoorn, H., Bouton, N., van Opzeeland, I., Coers, A., ten Cate, C. & Popper, A.N. 2010. A noisy spring: the impact of globally rising underwater sound levels on fish. Trends in Ecology and Evolution: 25: 419-427

  • Slabbekoorn, H. 2015. Aiming for progress in understanding underwater noise impact on fish: complementary need for indoor and outdoor studies. In: Popper AN, Hawkins AD (Eds.), The effects of noise on aquatic life II, New York: Springer. in press. II, New York: Springer, in press.

  • Shafiei Sabet, S., van Dooren, D. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2016. Son et lumière: sound and light effects on spatial distribution and swimming behavior in captive zebrafish. Environmental Pollution 214: 26-34

  • Shafiei Sabet, S., Wesdorp, K., Campbell, J. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2015. Behavioural responses to sound exposure in captivity by two fish species with different hearing ability. Animal Behaviour 116: 1-11

  • Shafiei Sabet, S., Neo, Y.Y. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2015. The effect of temporal variation in experimental noise exposure on swimming and foraging behaviour of captive zebrafish. Animal Behaviour 109: 49–60

  • Neo, Y.Y., Parie, L., Bakker, F., Snelderwaard, P., Tudorache, C., Schaaf, M. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2015. Behavioral changes in response to sound exposure and no spatial avoidance of noisy conditions in captive zebrafish. Frontiers in Behavioural Neurosciences 9: 1–11

  • Neo, Y.Y., Seitz, J., Kastelein, R.A., Winter, H.V., ten Cate, C. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2014. Temporal structure of sound affects behavioural recovery from noise impact in European seabass. Biological Conservation 178: 65–73

  • Neo, Y.Y., Ufkes, E., Kastelein, R.A., Winter, H.V., ten Cate, C. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2015. Impulsive sounds change European seabass swimming patterns: Influence of pulse repetition interval. Marine Pollution Bulletin doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.06.027

  • Neo, Y.Y., Hubert, J., Bolle, L., Winter, H.V., ten Cate, C. & Slabbekoorn, H. 2016. Sound exposure changes European seabass behaviour in a large outdoor floating pen: effects of temporal structure and a ramp-up procedure. Environmental Pollution 212: 480-488

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