Small-Boat Noise Impacts Natural Settlement Behavior of Coral Reef Fish Larvae

  • Stephen D. SimpsonEmail author
  • Andrew N. Radford
  • Sophie Holles
  • Maud C. O. Ferarri
  • Douglas P. Chivers
  • Mark I. McCormick
  • Mark G. Meekan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 875)


After a pelagic larval phase, settlement-stage coral reef fish must locate a suitable reef habitat for juvenile life. Reef noise, produced by resident fish and invertebrates, provides an important cue for orientation and habitat selection during this process, which must often occur in environments impacted by anthropogenic noise. We adapted an established field-based protocol to test whether recorded boat noise influenced the settlement behavior of reef fish. Fewer fish settled to patch reefs broadcasting boat + reef noise compared with reef noise alone. This study suggests that boat noise, now a common feature of many reefs, can compromise critical settlement behavior of reef fishes.


Anthropogenic noise Habitat selection Patch reefs Settlement stage 



We thank the staff at Lizard Island Research Station for logistical support and the Australian Research Council (Mark I. McCormick and Mark G. Meekan), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (Mark G. Meekan), and the UK Natural Environmental Research Council (Stephen D. Simpson) for funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen D. Simpson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew N. Radford
    • 2
  • Sophie Holles
    • 2
  • Maud C. O. Ferarri
    • 3
  • Douglas P. Chivers
    • 4
  • Mark I. McCormick
    • 5
  • Mark G. Meekan
    • 6
  1. 1.BiosciencesCollege of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.School of Biological Sciences, University of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical SciencesWestern College of Veterinary Medicine, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  5. 5.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  6. 6.University of Western Australia Ocean Sciences Centre, Australian Institute of Marine ScienceCrawleyAustralia

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