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Noisy waters linked to sicker fish

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Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

New research from the UK suggests that man-made noise pollution may be linked to increased risk of disease among fish. The team tested how susceptible guppies became to parasitic infections when exposed to acute and chronic noise. They found that the fish exposed to acute noise suffered significantly increased parasite infection compared to those with no noise. By contrast, fish experiencing chronic noise had the lowest parasite burden, but died significantly earlier. The authors say their findings could have important implications for fish farming.

Journal/conference: Royal Society Open Science

Link to research (DOI): 10.1098/rsos.200172

Organisation/s: Cardiff University, UK

Funder: No funding to declare.

Media release

From: The Royal Society

The myth of a silent underwater world is dispelled: aquatic organisms exposed to noise display maladaptive behaviours, increased stress responses and even mortality. Here, we show for the first time how fish exposed to acute noise demonstrated significantly increased disease susceptibility compared to fish experiencing only background noise. Interestingly, fish that were exposed to chronic noise showed the greatest resistance to disease. These fish, however, were prone to higher mortality compared to fish exposed to acute noise; suggesting a fatal trade-off.

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