SATURN: Developing Solutions for Underwater Radiated Noise – Sound impact on migratory fishes
Do natural soundscapes affect migratory decisions of fishes moving up and down rivers and is this process disturbed by vessel sounds?
- 2021 - 2025
- Hans Slabbekoorn
- SATURN has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101006443
The SATURN-project aims to identify the sounds from shipping and boats that are most harmful to aquatic species and how they are produced and propagated. The partners will investigate both short-term and long-term impacts of noise from shipping and boats. Three representative groups of aquatic species in rivers and the sea will be investigated: invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals.
The collaboration between biologists and engineers will allow integrated exploration of the most promising options for measuring and reducing the negative impacts of ship noise that can be applied to current and future vessels. The project can be seen as a follow-up from two earlier EU-funded projects: AQUO and SONIC.
The part of SATURN that will take place at the IBL is the MIGRADROME-project on migratory fishes. Fishes rely heavily on sound and many species use sound to find their way during migration or dispersal. Many fish species have been shown to be affected by noise pollution through disturbance, deterrence, and distraction, or through masking of biologically relevant sounds. When fishes are migrating up or down rivers they may be guided acoustically through natural soundscapes, but they may also encounter very noisy places due to boat traffic, which they may not be able to avoid or pass.
Fishes will be tested for the impact of sound conditions on movement decisions in the MIGRADROME-swim tunnel. We will collect and test natural soundscapes and mix these with vessel sound stimuli. We will investigate acoustic responsiveness in decisions by fish about staying or leaving, moving on or going back, given a suit of environmental conditions, such as temperature, light, and salinity. This novel set-up will integrate the latest of established swim tunnel technology allowing manipulation of various combinations of experimental exposure conditions.