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Data from: The noise egg: a cheap and simple device to produce low-frequency underwater noise for laboratory and field experiments

Citation

de Jong, Karen; Schulte, Gregor; Heubel, Katja U. (2017), Data from: The noise egg: a cheap and simple device to produce low-frequency underwater noise for laboratory and field experiments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sf0nn

Abstract

Studying the effect of anthropogenic noise on animal behaviour and physiology is a field of growing scientific and management interest. Anthropogenic noise is internationally seen as major environmental concern, but knowledge of the response of animals to noise and its ecological and evolutionary consequences is disparate. Even though fish and invertebrates form the majority of aquatic taxa, the effects of noise on these taxa are largely understudied. Especially the consequences of noise for short-range communication and behavioural interactions are yet unknown. While experimental studies on this subject are thus greatly needed, the expense of the equipment can be a main factor limiting data generation. Speakers that produce low-frequency sounds under water are currently either too large or too expensive to allow for sufficient replication in many research set-ups. Here, we describe a device that can produce a low-frequency sound, which can be used as an experimental source of noise both in aquaria and in the field. The device is completely self-contained and costs around 10 euros per ‘noise egg’. The sound created consists of frequency bands (harmonics), which has the advantage that broadband and pulsed sounds, such as sounds produced by vocal fish, are easily detected in a spectrogram. Because the sound from the egg attenuates quickly, it can be used in aquaria and in the field to target certain study species or individuals without affecting a large part of the surrounding area. We have developed the device to study the effects of noise on communication and behaviour in small aquatic animals; however, it could be used for other purposes, such as testing the propagation of certain frequencies in shallow-water habitats. We hope the described method will facilitate the generation of experimental data on the effect of noise on behaviour and communication in aquatic animals in a wide variety of study systems and study areas.

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