Poster Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Investigating the Effects of Underwater Noise on Estuarine Marine Fauna in New South Wales, Australia (#497)

Brittney E Valenzisi 1 , Megan Huggett 1 , Troy Gaston 1
  1. Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, Anna Bay, NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia

Anthropogenic noise has been identified as one of the most harmful forms of global pollutants impacting both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Marine species rely on noise for key biological functions including communication, feeding, navigation, mating and defense which can be heavily influenced by anthropogenic activities. There are substantial knowledge gaps surrounding the effect of noise pollution on estuarine marine fauna, particularly estuaries with high levels of recreational amenity. With an increasing call for research surrounding underwater noise, this project aims to investigate underwater noise within New South Wales estuaries using Remote Underwater Videos (RUVs) to identify any effect on marine communities. Specifically, we aimed to 1) investigate the soundscape of Lake Macquarie identifying the main sources of underwater noise and quantifying the magnitude of anthropogenic induced noise and 2) investigate the effect of underwater noise on marine communities (changes in diversity, abundance and behaviour). Two (2) hydrophone and camera systems were deployed throughout the lake both day and night and weekend/weekday to develop an underwater soundscape. Preliminary data shows a wide range of underwater noise and its magnitude related to urbanisation around the lake which is potentially affecting marine communities.