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The impact of seismic survey exposure on the righting reflex and moult cycle of southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) puerulus larvae and juveniles


Day, RD and Fitzgibbon, QP and McCauley, RD and Baker, KB and Semmens, JM, The impact of seismic survey exposure on the righting reflex and moult cycle of southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) puerulus larvae and juveniles, Environmental Pollution, 309 Article 119699. ISSN 0269-7491 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119699


Anthropogenic aquatic noise is recognised as an environmental pollutant with the potential to negatively affect marine organisms. Seismic surveys, used to explore subseafloor oil reserves, are a common source of aquatic noise that have garnered attention due to their intense low frequency inputs and their frequent spatial overlap with coastal fisheries. Commercially important Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) adults have previously shown sensitivity to signals from a single seismic air gun. Here, the sensitivity of J. edwardsii juveniles and puerulus to the signals of a full-scale seismic survey were evaluated to determine if early developmental stages were affected similarly to adults, and the range of impact. To quantify impact, lobster mortality rates, dorsoventral righting reflex and progression through moult cycle were evaluated following exposure. Exposure did not result in mortality in either developmental stage, however, air gun signals caused righting impairment to at least 500m in lobsters sampled immediately following exposure, as had previously been reported in adults with corresponding sensory system damage following exposure. Impairment resulting from close range (0m) exposure appeared to be persistent, as previously reported in adults, whereas juveniles exposed at a more distant range (500m) showed recovery, indicating that exposure at a range of 500m may not cause lasting impairment to righting. Intermoult duration was (time between moults) significantly increased in juveniles exposed at 0m from the source, indicating the potential for slowed development, growth, and physiological stress. These results demonstrate that exposure to seismic air gun signals have the potential to negatively impact early life history stages of Southern Rock Lobsters. The similarity of both the impacts and the sound exposure levels observed here compared to previous exposure using a single air gun offer validation for the approach, which opens the potential for accessible field-based experimental work into the impact of seismic surveys on marine invertebrates.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aquatic noise, invertebrate, air gun
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Invertebrate biology
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught rock lobster
UTAS Author:Day, RD (Dr Ryan Day)
UTAS Author:Fitzgibbon, QP (Associate Professor Quinn Fitzgibbon)
UTAS Author:Baker, KB (Miss Katherine Baker)
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
ID Code:154626
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2022-12-16
Last Modified:2023-02-08

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