Underwater Pile-Driving Noise Causes Alarm Responses in Squid

Credit:  Ian Jones, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Exposure to underwater pile-driving noise, which can be associated with the construction of docks, piers and offshore wind farms, causes squid to exhibit strong alarm behaviors, according to a study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers published in December in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

“This study is the first to report behavioral effects of pile-driving noise on any cephalopod, a group including squid, cuttlefish, and octopuses,” said lead author Ian Jones, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography.

In the next decade, the offshore wind industry is expected to expand rapidly in the Northeast U.S., causing concern among federal entities and commercial fishermen over how the behavior of commercially important fish and other species will be impacted.

Squid play a key role in the marine food web. Many marine mammals, seabirds and fish feed off squid, as well as humans, who eat about 3 million metric tons of squid annually.

The results of the study could help management agencies and those in the offshore wind industry minimize disruptions to important fishery species like squid. The squid fishery on the East Coast is valued at about $40 million per year.

Learn more at: www.whoi.edu/press-room/news-release/underwater-pile-driving-noise-causes-alarm-responses-in-squid.

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