Reef Fish & Underwater Noise

Seismic surveying emits underwater noise to detect oil and gas beneath the seafloor. Our team recorded videos of the number of fish on a reef before and during a seismic survey. During seismic surveying, reef-fish abundance declined by 78% in the evening hours. The fish response suggests seismic surveying may disrupt fish use of offshore habitat. 

Detailed findings of our study, including a PDF, are published in Marine Policy and are available through this link: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1UQJy,714MRQcs. The citation for our article, which was a collaborative effort with partners at University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences, Duke University Marine Laboratory, and the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, is:

Paxton. A.B., J.C. Taylor, D.P. Nowacek, J. Dale, E. Cole, C.M. Voss, and C.H. Peterson. 2017. Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef. Marine Policy 78: 68-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.12.017.
Videos, audio, and stills are provided below.

 

Videos (video credit: UNC-IMS):

Reef before seismic surveying (Video 1 of 2) from Avery Paxton on Vimeo.

 

Reef during seismic surveying (video 2 of 2) from Avery Paxton on Vimeo.

Audio (audio credit: UNC-IMS):

Reef before seismic surveying (audio 1 of 2)

Reef during seismic surveying (audio 2 of 2)

Stills (photo credit: J. McCord / UNC-CSI):

Click on image to download.

Reef Fish & Underwater Noise