MEPS 287:201-208 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps287201

Response of embryonic coral reef fishes (Pomacentridae: Amphiprion spp.) to noise

S. D. Simpson1,*, H. Y. Yan2, M. L. Wittenrich3, M. G. Meekan4

1Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK
2Marine Research Station, Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica, 23-10 Dahuen Road, Jiashi, I-Lan County 262, Taiwan, ROC
3Fish Ecophysiology, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Avenue, Melbourne, Florida 32901, USA
4Australian Institute of Marine Science, PO Box 40197, Casuarina, Darwin, Northern Territory 8010, Australia

ABSTRACT: We investigated the ability of embryonic clownfishes Amphiprion ephippium and A. rubrocinctus to detect sound during incubation in benthic nests. The heart rates of embryos within eggs were monitored as the young fish were exposed to sounds in the range of 100 to 1200 Hz at levels of 80 to 150 dB (re 1 µPa at 1 m) on each day of incubation. We found that, from 3 d after fertilisation, the heart rates of the embryos significantly increased when exposed to sound. As the embryos developed, a response in heart rate was found over a broader spectrum of sound (from 400 to 700 Hz at 3 d to a maximum of 100 to 1200 kHz at 9 d after fertilisation) and sensitivity also increased, with response threshold minima at 700 Hz dropping from 139.1 dB at 3 d to 88.3 dB at 9 d after fertilisation. We discuss these findings with respect to recent work that demonstrates the importance of sound as a settlement cue in coral reef fishes.


KEY WORDS: Coral reef fishes · Embryos · Hearing · Sound · Heart rate · Amphiprion


Full text in pdf format