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North Sea noise in the Anthropocene: an impact study of human-made impulsive sounds on free-ranging cod

Sound is everywhere in the marine environment and hearing is therefore a very important for stimuli for fish. They use sound for orientation and communication, during migration, aggregation and spawning, but also for detection of prey and predators.

Knaap, I.E.J. van der
25 januari 2023
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Understanding how fish are effected by sound has become increasingly important in light of the increasing contribution of noise produced by human activity at sea. In this thesis, I investigated the effects of two anthropogenic sound sources in relation to the movement behaviour of free-swimming Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the North Sea: seismic surveying for the exploration of the seabed and pile driving during the construction of offshore windfarms. Results from the two sound exposure studies demonstrated that both seismic and piling sound effect the behaviour of cod. Exposure to a seismic survey resulted in reduced activity during exposure and fish leaving the area earlier in the year. Piling did not result in leaving but did cause cod to move closer to the hard bottom structures. Ultimately, these insights will bring us one step closer towards recognising the effects of anthropogenic noise on the behaviour of individual marine fish and the potential consequences this may have at population level.

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