Exposure of fish to high-intensity sonar does not induce acute pathology

Authors

  • A. S. Kane,

    1. Department of Environmental and Global Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A.
    2. Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A.
    3. Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, U.S.A.
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  • J. Song,

    1. Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
    2. Division of Fishes, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, U.S.A.
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  • M. B. Halvorsen,

    1. Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
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  • D. L. Miller,

    1. Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
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  • J. D. Salierno,

    1. Department of Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ 07940, U.S.A.
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  • L. E. Wysocki,

    1. Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
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  • D. Zeddies,

    1. Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
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  • A. N. Popper

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
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Tel.: +1 301 405 1940; fax: +1 301 314 9358; email: apopper@umd.edu

Abstract

This study investigated immediate effects of intense sound exposure associated with low-frequency (170–320 Hz) or with mid-frequency (2·8–3·8 kHz) sonars on caged rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus and hybrid sunfish Lepomis sp. in Seneca Lake, New York, U.S.A. This study focused on potential effects on inner ear tissues using scanning electron microscopy and on non-auditory tissues using gross and histopathology. Fishes were exposed to low-frequency sounds for 324 or 628 s with a received peak signal level of 193 dB re 1 µPa (root mean square, rms) or to mid-frequency sounds for 15 s with a received peak signal level of 210 dB re 1 µPa (rms). Although a variety of clinical observations from various tissues and organ systems were described, no exposure-related pathologies were observed. This study represents the first investigation of the effects of high-intensity sonar on fish tissues in vivo. Data from this study indicate that exposure to low and midfrequency sonars, as described in this report, might not have acute effects on fish tissues.

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