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Hurricane impacts on a coral reef soundscape

Citation

Simmons, Kayelyn; Simmons, Kayelyn; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne; Eggleston, David (2020), Hurricane impacts on a coral reef soundscape, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5tb2rbp38

Abstract

Soundscape ecology is an emerging field in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and provides a powerful approach for assessing habitat quality and the ecological response of sound-producing species to natural and anthropogenic perturbations. Little is known of how underwater soundscapes respond during and after severe episodic disturbances, such as hurricanes. This study addresses the impacts of Hurricane Irma on the coral reef soundscape at two spur-and-groove fore-reef sites within the Florida Keys USA, using passive acoustic data collected before and during the storm at Western Dry Rocks (WDR) and before, during and after the storm at Eastern Sambo (ESB). As the storm passed, the cumulative acoustic exposure near the seabed at these sites was comparable to a small vessel operating continuously overhead for 1-2 weeks.  Before the storm, sound pressure levels (SPLs) showed a distinct pattern of low frequency diel variation and increased high frequency sound during crepuscular periods. The low frequency band was partitioned in two groups representative of soniferous reef fish, whereas the high frequency band represented snapping shrimp sound production. Daily daytime patterns in low-frequency sound production largely persisted in the weeks following the hurricane. Crepuscular sound production by snapping shrimp was maintained post-hurricane with only a small shift (~1.5dB) in the level of daytime vs nighttime sound production for this high frequency band. This study suggests that on short time scales, temporal patterns in the coral reef soundscape were relatively resilient to acoustic energy exposure during the storm, as well as changes in the benthic habitat and environmental conditions resulting from hurricane damage.

Methods

Recordings began 07/14/2017 at 12:00 and ended 10/17/2017 at 22:02 for ESB and 10/01/2017 at 23:40 for WDR. The instrument was programmed to record for 120 seconds every 20 minutes  (72 files/day) at a 48 kHz sample rate. The hydrophone recorders were calibrated with a flat frequency response over the ~0.02-40kHz band. In total, 34,455 2-minute recordings were collected as part of this study.   Water temperature was logged by the ST-300 every 20 minutes, coincident with the acoustic recordings.

Usage Notes

 

Description

As a part of a larger study, eight SoundTrap ST-300 acoustic recorders (Ocean-Instruments NZ) were deployed in the lower Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in July 2017. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma’s (Category 4) passing directly over the FKNMS in September 2017, only two hydrophones, those deployed at Western Dry Rocks (WDR) and Eastern Sambo (ESB) reefs, were recovered. This opportunistic dataset recorded natural noise impacts to the biological coral reef soundscape before, during, and after the hurricane.

Data Acquisition

Recordings began 07/14/2017 at 12:00 and ended 10/17/2017 at 22:02 for ESB and 10/01/2017 at 23:40 for WDR. The instrument was programmed to record for 120 seconds every 20 minutes  (72 files/day) at a 48 kHz sample rate. The hydrophone recorders were calibrated with a flat frequency response over the ~0.02-40kHz band. In total, 34,455 2-minute recordings were collected as part of this study.   Water temperature was logged by the ST-300 every 20 minutes, coincident with the acoustic recordings.

ST-300 instrument locations and serial #:  

WSB:   24.445°N, 81.926°W // Serial # 201355304

ESB:   24.491°N, 81.664°W // Serial # 67383320

Data File Access

The acoustic data stored in *.wav files may be read into MATLAB using functions included in MATLAB, with the following calibration (dB_cal) values:  WSB =  172.2 dB;  ESB=  177.9 dB.

Example:
cal=10^(dB_cal/20);

[y,fs]=audioread(‘filename.wav’); % read in audiofile
y=y(fs*5:end) % remove first 5 seconds that have calibration sound

y=(y-mean(y))*cal; % demeaned and response correct to mPa

 

Log-file in *.xml format can be read by any text editor.  They contain additional information on the start and stop of each recording in local and UTC time zones. 

 

Temperature data stored in *.csv format may be read using any text editor or spreadsheet program.  Times are expressed in seconds since 1970 and temperatures are in °C.

 

 

Funding

Coral Reef Conservation Program, Award: CRCP NA18NOS4820113

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Award: 2019-2745/1305M219PNFFM0201