Marine noise has been studied for it’s impact on whales, dolphins and other marine animals. Might it also impact smaller creatures too? Eels, for example.
Despite their reputation as slippery customers, a new study has shown that eels are losing the fight to survive when faced with marine noise pollution such as that of passing ships.
Scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol found that fish exposed to playback of ship noise lose crucial responses to predator threats. The study, published today in the journal Global Change Biology, found European eels were 50 per cent less likely to respond to an ambush from a predator, while those that did had 25 per cent slower reaction times. Those that were pursued by a predator were caught more than twice as quickly when exposed to the noise.