Noise harming ocean invertebrates and ecosystems - University of Exeter

Noise from human activities is harming ocean invertebrates and ecosystems, new research shows.

Scientists reviewed hundreds of studies on the impact of noise on marine invertebrates (such as crabs, molluscs, squid, prawns and worms).

They concluded that noise caused by humans is harming invertebrates in numerous ways, from cellular level to entire ecosystems.

The international team, including – BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the University of Exeter, call for urgent research to investigate and mitigate these impacts.

Dead brown octopus lying on the tideline of a sandy beach
Research showed cephalopods washed up on beaches in Spain had damaged statocysts (hearing organs) Photo: Bryan Burgos on unsplash

“Human activities – especially shipping – are changing the ocean soundscape rapidly, and our study brings together the latest evidence on the impacts of this.” said first author Dr Marta Solé from UPC

The study highlights the multiple impacts of anthropogenic (human) noise on invertebrates:

Recent studies have revealed that a wide range of invertebrates are sensitive to sounds, especially via sensory organs whose original function is to allow maintaining equilibrium in the water column and sensing gravity.

The paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, is entitled: “Marine invertebrates and noise"

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Posted On: 17/03/2023

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