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Acoustic noise induces attention shifts and reduces foraging performance in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

Purser J, Radford AN - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten.However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention.Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom. julia.purser@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Acoustic noise is known to have a variety of detrimental effects on many animals, including humans, but surprisingly little is known about its impacts on foraging behaviour, despite the obvious potential consequences for survival and reproductive success. We therefore exposed captive three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to brief and prolonged noise to investigate how foraging performance is affected by the addition of acoustic noise to an otherwise quiet environment. The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten. However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention. Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items. Our results suggest that acoustic noise has the potential to influence a whole host of everyday activities through effects on attention, and that even very brief noise exposure can cause functionally significant impacts, emphasising the threat posed by ever-increasing levels of anthropogenic noise in the environment.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Experimental test tank schematic: arrangement of fish and apparatus during and between trials.Plan view of test tank before and between trials (A) and during trials (B): focal fish (F), companion fish (C) contained in transparent plastic cylinder during trials, two areas where live Daphnia sp. were delivered during trials (D), speaker (S) behind opaque partition (P) during trials, mesh partitions (M) separated fish between trials. Fish in separate sections of the tank between trials with mesh partitions allowing visual, acoustic and olfactory contact.
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pone-0017478-g003: Experimental test tank schematic: arrangement of fish and apparatus during and between trials.Plan view of test tank before and between trials (A) and during trials (B): focal fish (F), companion fish (C) contained in transparent plastic cylinder during trials, two areas where live Daphnia sp. were delivered during trials (D), speaker (S) behind opaque partition (P) during trials, mesh partitions (M) separated fish between trials. Fish in separate sections of the tank between trials with mesh partitions allowing visual, acoustic and olfactory contact.

Mentions: At the start of the study, fish were allowed to acclimate to their test tank: 20 h before the first trial began; fish were transferred in focal-fish/companion-fish pairs from their stock tank to separate sections of a 10 l test tank, with a mesh divider to allow social contact (Figure 3a). For trials, the focal fish and companion fish were both in the same section of the tank (Figure 3b), with the companion fish contained within a transparent plastic cylinder (diameter: 7 cm): the companion fish was first confined within the transparent cylinder and then the focal fish was transferred to the adjacent open space. An opaque partition was added between the two tank sections, to allow subsequent addition of the speaker to the tank out of sight of the fish. Trials were conducted in 12 parallel tanks with 12 sequential trials (one trial per fish) per session; a single speaker was used for all trials with the speaker being moved between the12 tanks used in each testing session. Fish were left to acclimate for 1 h before the testing session began. At the beginning of each trial the speaker was added to the tank, behind the opaque partition, and the fish allowed to settle; they resumed normal swimming behaviour within 2–3 min after the introduction of the speaker. This movement of the focal fish between sections of the tank allowed the most efficient transfer from pre-trial to trial conditions, with focal fish and companion fish separated and identifiable, and thus the least disturbance to the fish. Between trials, fish were returned to the pre-trial conditions (Figure 3a): the speaker was removed, focal fish transferred back to the second tank section, companion fish released from the transparent compartment, and the opaque partition between tank sections removed.


Acoustic noise induces attention shifts and reduces foraging performance in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

Purser J, Radford AN - PLoS ONE (2011)

Experimental test tank schematic: arrangement of fish and apparatus during and between trials.Plan view of test tank before and between trials (A) and during trials (B): focal fish (F), companion fish (C) contained in transparent plastic cylinder during trials, two areas where live Daphnia sp. were delivered during trials (D), speaker (S) behind opaque partition (P) during trials, mesh partitions (M) separated fish between trials. Fish in separate sections of the tank between trials with mesh partitions allowing visual, acoustic and olfactory contact.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3046255&req=5

pone-0017478-g003: Experimental test tank schematic: arrangement of fish and apparatus during and between trials.Plan view of test tank before and between trials (A) and during trials (B): focal fish (F), companion fish (C) contained in transparent plastic cylinder during trials, two areas where live Daphnia sp. were delivered during trials (D), speaker (S) behind opaque partition (P) during trials, mesh partitions (M) separated fish between trials. Fish in separate sections of the tank between trials with mesh partitions allowing visual, acoustic and olfactory contact.
Mentions: At the start of the study, fish were allowed to acclimate to their test tank: 20 h before the first trial began; fish were transferred in focal-fish/companion-fish pairs from their stock tank to separate sections of a 10 l test tank, with a mesh divider to allow social contact (Figure 3a). For trials, the focal fish and companion fish were both in the same section of the tank (Figure 3b), with the companion fish contained within a transparent plastic cylinder (diameter: 7 cm): the companion fish was first confined within the transparent cylinder and then the focal fish was transferred to the adjacent open space. An opaque partition was added between the two tank sections, to allow subsequent addition of the speaker to the tank out of sight of the fish. Trials were conducted in 12 parallel tanks with 12 sequential trials (one trial per fish) per session; a single speaker was used for all trials with the speaker being moved between the12 tanks used in each testing session. Fish were left to acclimate for 1 h before the testing session began. At the beginning of each trial the speaker was added to the tank, behind the opaque partition, and the fish allowed to settle; they resumed normal swimming behaviour within 2–3 min after the introduction of the speaker. This movement of the focal fish between sections of the tank allowed the most efficient transfer from pre-trial to trial conditions, with focal fish and companion fish separated and identifiable, and thus the least disturbance to the fish. Between trials, fish were returned to the pre-trial conditions (Figure 3a): the speaker was removed, focal fish transferred back to the second tank section, companion fish released from the transparent compartment, and the opaque partition between tank sections removed.

Bottom Line: The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten.However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention.Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom. julia.purser@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Acoustic noise is known to have a variety of detrimental effects on many animals, including humans, but surprisingly little is known about its impacts on foraging behaviour, despite the obvious potential consequences for survival and reproductive success. We therefore exposed captive three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to brief and prolonged noise to investigate how foraging performance is affected by the addition of acoustic noise to an otherwise quiet environment. The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten. However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention. Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items. Our results suggest that acoustic noise has the potential to influence a whole host of everyday activities through effects on attention, and that even very brief noise exposure can cause functionally significant impacts, emphasising the threat posed by ever-increasing levels of anthropogenic noise in the environment.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus