You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sea creatures quieter in polluted areas

AAP logoAAP 5/09/2016 Marnie Banger

Fish, shrimp and other sea creatures in polluted waters make less sound than those in healthier environments, Adelaide marine researchers have found.

University of Adelaide researchers have used audio recordings to show that nutrient pollution in the sea, caused by runoff from nearby land, prompts marine populations to be quieter.

Lead researcher Ivan Nagelkerken says fish use sounds in the sea to direct them to habitats, which they need for food and shelter.

But he says a loss of habitat leads to fewer sea creatures, which in turn leads to less sound, making it harder for populations to navigate and breed.

"The demise of biological sounds is likely to have negative impacts on the replenishment of fish populations," he said.

The study found that sea environments with higher levels of Co2, which are expected to become more common because of climate change, are similarly quieter than more balanced environments.

Professor Nagalkerken says local areas may want to consider what they can do to reduce nutrient runoff, as sea environments are already under stress.

"Globally we need to reduce Co2 emissions but locally we can focus on reducing nutrient pollution," he said.

"This puts the power into local communities to do something about maintaining the diversity of their local habitats."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon