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Aquatic Biology

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AB 27:13-23 (2018)  -  DOI:

Sound characterization of the European lobster Homarus gammarus in tanks

Youenn Jézéquel1,*, Julien Bonnel2, Jennifer Coston-Guarini1, Jean-Marc Guarini3, Laurent Chauvaud1

1Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin, UBO, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, LIA BeBEST, UMR 6539, rue Dumont D’Urville, 29280 Plouzané, France
2Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
3UPMC (Paris-6), UMR 8222 LECOB, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls sur Mer, 66650 Banyuls sur Mer, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Experiments in marine behavioural ecology rely heavily on observations made in tanks. However, when studying acoustic behaviours of marine animals in confined volumes, the effects of reverberation must be characterized, something that has been overlooked in parts of the marine ecology literature. In this study, we characterized reverberation in tanks using an artificial sound source and examined the implications for bioacoustic studies using sounds emitted by the European lobster Homarus gammarus during feeding and in response to stress. Broadband and transient sounds commonly produced by crustaceans were severely impacted by reverberation such that their spectral characteristics and pulse width durations could not be assessed. In contrast, low-frequency sounds could be characterized in tanks, but not their source level. Based on these observations, we describe a simple methodology to identify which sound characteristics can be measured in tanks. When feeding, the lobsters produced broadband and transient sounds called ‘rattles’, similar to sounds reported for tropical spiny lobsters Palinurus longipes and P. argus. When stressed, H. gammarus vibrated its carapace, producing a low-frequency sound analogous to the ‘buzzing’ sound of the American lobster H. americanus. The potential role of species-specific sound is discussed; however, although our observations represent the first bioacoustic characterization of H. gammarus, additional behavioural studies are necessary to understand their ecological meaning.

KEY WORDS: European lobster · Passive acoustics · Tanks · Reverberation · Rattle · Buzzing sound · Spectral analysis

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Cite this article as: Jézéquel Y, Bonnel J, Coston-Guarini J, Guarini JM, Chauvaud L (2018) Sound characterization of the European lobster Homarus gammarus in tanks. Aquat Biol 27:13-23.

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