AB 24:201-210 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00650

Temporal trends in cusk eel sound production at a proposed US wind farm site

T. Aran Mooney1,*, Maxwell B. Kaplan1, Annamaria Izzi1,2, Luca Lamoni1,3, Laela Sayigh1

1Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
2Northeast Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
3School of Biology, University of St. Andrews, Sir Harold Mitchell Building, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9TH, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Many marine organisms produce sound during key life history events. Identifying and tracking these sounds can reveal spatial and temporal patterns of species occurrence and behaviors. We describe the temporal patterns of striped cusk eel Ophidion marginatum calls across approximately 1 yr in Nantucket Sound, MA, USA, the location of a proposed offshore wind energy installation. Stereotyped calls typical of courtship and spawning were detected from April to October with clear diel, monthly, and seasonal patterns. Acoustic energy increased in the evenings and peaked during crepuscular periods, with the dusk call levels typically higher in energy and more rapid in onset than those from near-dawn periods. Increased call energy and substantial overlap of calls during certain periods suggest that many cusk eels were often calling simultaneously. Call energy (measured in energy flux density) peaked in July and patterns followed seasonal changes in sunrise and sunset. Sound levels were high (over 150 dB re 1 ┬ÁPa2 s) during the summer, indicating that this cusk eel population is a substantial contributor to the local soundscape. The stereotyped cusk eel signals and clear temporal energy patterns potentially provide a bioacoustic signal that can be used to monitor changes to the local environment and its soundscape.


KEY WORDS: Noise · Masking · Spawning · Reproduction · Management · Conservation


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Cite this article as: Mooney TA, Kaplan MB, Izzi A, Lamoni L, Sayigh L (2016) Temporal trends in cusk eel sound production at a proposed US wind farm site. Aquat Biol 24:201-210. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00650

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