ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, vol.27, no.29, pp.36857-36864, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
Human-made impacts on the acoustic environment from marine industries is becoming a more significant issue with increasing public concern of environmental consequences. Even though there are several reports with scientific evidences on harmful influences of anthropogenic underwater sounds on the aquatic ecosystem, most of the studies so far dealt with trigger effects of short term noise impacts on aquatic animals. In the present study, however, long-term experimentation was conducted with Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in order to figure out how fish may respond to long-term exposure of underwater sounds and if the level of response may change (increase or decline) over time. A startle reflex as a sign of stress was seen immediately at the start of the playbacks of ship noise or urban sounds in this study. Peaks of elevated respiratory movements of ventilation (opercula beats and pectoral wing rates) retained high over the following 30 days of sound initiation and underwent a declining trend over the following 90 days of exposure. At the end of the 120-day study period, the lowered response of fish after long-term sound exposure is likely due to the increased tolerance of fish to human-generated underwater sounds of urban and shipping noises. Different than short-term noise impacts, information on long-term exposure of anthropogenic underwater sounds is important for environmental management and setting new regulations for the sustainable use of water resources in the world.