Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef

Avery B. Paxton, J. Christopher Taylor, Douglas P. Nowacek, Julian Dale, Elijah Cole, Christine M. Voss, Charles H. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Marine seismic surveying discerns subsurface seafloor geology, indicative of, for example, petroleum deposits, by emitting high-intensity, low-frequency impulsive sounds. Impacts on fish are uncertain. Opportunistic monitoring of acoustic signatures from a seismic survey on the inner continental shelf of North Carolina, USA, revealed noise exceeding 170 dB re 1μ Pa peak on two temperate reefs federally designated as Essential Fish Habitat 0.7 and 6.5 km from the survey ship path. Videos recorded fish abundance and behavior on a nearby third reef 7.9 km from the seismic track. During seismic surveying, reef-fish abundance declined by 78% during evening hours when fish habitat use was highest on the previous three days without seismic noise. Despite absence of videos documenting fish returns after seismic surveying, the significant reduction in fish occupation of the reef represents disruption to daily pattern. This numerical response confirms that conservation concerns associated with seismic surveying are realistic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Policy
Volume78
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

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noise
fish
Fish
habitat
video
reef
reefs
surveying
crude oil
acoustics
occupation
intensity
conservation
return
example
behavior
survey
impact
seismic survey
habitats

Keywords

  • airgun
  • fish abundance
  • marine conservation
  • oil and gas exploration
  • reef fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law

Cite this

Paxton, A. B., Taylor, J. C., Nowacek, D. P., Dale, J., Cole, E., Voss, C. M., & Peterson, C. H. (2017). Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef. Marine Policy, 78, 68-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.12.017

Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef. / Paxton, Avery B.; Taylor, J. Christopher; Nowacek, Douglas P.; Dale, Julian; Cole, Elijah; Voss, Christine M.; Peterson, Charles H.

In: Marine Policy, Vol. 78, 01.04.2017, p. 68-73.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Paxton, AB, Taylor, JC, Nowacek, DP, Dale, J, Cole, E, Voss, CM & Peterson, CH 2017, 'Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef' Marine Policy, vol 78, pp. 68-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.12.017
Paxton AB, Taylor JC, Nowacek DP, Dale J, Cole E, Voss CM et al. Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef. Marine Policy. 2017 Apr 1;78:68-73. Available from, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.12.017

Paxton, Avery B.; Taylor, J. Christopher; Nowacek, Douglas P.; Dale, Julian; Cole, Elijah; Voss, Christine M.; Peterson, Charles H. / Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef.

In: Marine Policy, Vol. 78, 01.04.2017, p. 68-73.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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