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Acoustic dose-behavioral response relationship in sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) exposed to playbacks of pile driving sounds.

  • Kastelein, Ronald A1
  • Jennings, Nancy2
  • Kommeren, Aimée3
  • Helder-Hoek, Lean3
  • Schop, Jessica4
  • 1 Sea Mammal Research Company (SEAMARCO), Julianalaan 46, 3843 CC Harderwijk, The Netherlands. Electronic address: [email protected]. , (Netherlands)
  • 2 Dotmoth, 1 Mendip Villas, Crabtree Lane, Dundry, Bristol BS41 8LN, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Sea Mammal Research Company (SEAMARCO), Julianalaan 46, 3843 CC Harderwijk, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 4 Wageningen University and Research - Wageningen Marine Research, Ankerpark 27, 1781 AG Den Helder, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
Published Article
Marine environmental research
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2017
DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2017.08.010
PMID: 28874258


The foundations of offshore wind turbines are attached to the sea bed by percussion pile driving. Pile driving sounds may affect the behavior of fish. Acoustic dose-behavioral response relationships were determined for sea bass in a pool exposed for 20 min to pile driving sounds at seven mean received root-mean-square sound pressure levels [SPLrms; range: 130-166 dB re 1 μPa; single strike sound exposure level (SELss) range: 122-158; 6 dB steps]. Initial responses (sudden, short-lived changes in swimming speed and direction) and sustained responses (changes in school cohesion, swimming depth, and speed) were quantified. The 50% initial response threshold occurred at an SELss of 131 dB re 1 μPa2 s for 31 cm fish and 141 dB re 1 μPa2 s for 44 cm fish; the small fish thus reacted to lower SELss than the large fish. Analysis showed that there is no evidence, even at the highest sound level, for any consistent sustained response to sound exposure by the study animals. If wild sea bass are exposed to pile driving sounds at the levels used in the present study, there are unlikely to be any adverse effects on their ecology, because the initial responses after the onset of the piling sound observed in this study were short-lived.

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