Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 203–209

Effects of Boat Engine Noise on the Auditory Sensitivity of the Fathead Minnow, Pimephales promelas

  • Amy R. Scholik
  • Hong Y. Yan


Fishes are constantly exposed to various sources of noise in their underwater acoustic environment. Many of these sounds are from anthropogenic sources, especially engines of boats. Noise generated from a small boat with a 55 horsepower outboard motor was played back to fathead minnows, Pimephales promelas, for 2 h at 142 dB (re: 1 μPa), and auditory thresholds were measured using the auditory brainstem response (ABR) technique. The results demonstrate that boat engine noise significantly elevate a fish's auditory threshold at 1 kHz (7.8 dB), 1.5 kHz (13.5 dB), and 2.0 kHz (10.5 dB), the most sensitive hearing range of this species. Such a short duration of noise exposure leads to significant changes in hearing capability, and implies that man-made noise generated from boat engines can have far reaching environmental impacts on fishes.

anthropogenic noise auditory brainstem response (ABR) temporary threshold shift cyprinid fish 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy R. Scholik
    • 1
  • Hong Y. Yan
    • 1
  1. 1.Mechanosensory Physiology Laboratory, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonU.S.A.

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