Anthropogenic Noise Affects Behavior across Sensory Modalities

Hansjoerg P. Kunc*, Gillian N. Lyons, Julia D. Sigwart, Kirsty E. McLaughlin, Jonathan D. R. Houghton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
486 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many species are currently experiencing anthropogenically driven environmental changes. Among these changes, increasing noise levels are specifically a problem for species using acoustic signals (i.e., species relying on signals that use the same sensory modality as anthropogenic noise). Yet many species use other sensory modalities, such as visual and olfactory signals, to communicate. However, we have only little understanding of whether changes in the acoustic environment affect species that use sensory modalities other than acoustic signals. We studied the impact of anthropogenic noise on the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, which uses highly complex visual signals. We showed that cuttlefish adjusted their visual displays by changing their color more frequently during a playback of anthropogenic noise, compared with before and after the playback. Our results provide experimental evidence that anthropogenic noise has a marked effect on the behavior of species that are not reliant on acoustic communication. Thus, interference in one sensory channel, in this case the acoustic one, affects signaling in other sensory channels. By considering sensory channels in isolation, we risk overlooking the broader implications of environmental changes for the behavior of animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E93-100
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume184
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jul 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • animal communication
  • noise pollution
  • environmental change
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • Sepia officinalis
  • CUTTLEFISH SEPIA-OFFICINALIS
  • ACOUSTIC COMMUNICATION
  • URBAN BIOACOUSTICS
  • VOCAL INTERACTIONS
  • EVOKED-POTENTIALS
  • PARTICLE MOTION
  • SHIP NOISE
  • FISH
  • CEPHALOPODS
  • ADJUSTMENT

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