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The effect of stimulus type and background noise on hearing abilities of the round goby Neogobius melanostomus

Authors

  • A. J. Belanger,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, N9B 3P4 Canada
    2. School of Academic Studies, St Clair College, Thames Campus, Chatham, ON, N7M 5W4 Canada
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  • I. Bobeica,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, N9B 3P4 Canada
    2. Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, U.S.A.
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  • D. M. Higgs

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, N9B 3P4 Canada
      Tel.: +1 5192533000 ext. 4771; fax: +1 5199713609; email: dhiggs@uwindsor.ca
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Tel.: +1 5192533000 ext. 4771; fax: +1 5199713609; email: dhiggs@uwindsor.ca

Abstract

The auditory abilities of the round goby Neogobius melanostomus were quantified using auditory evoked potential recordings, using tone bursts and conspecific call stimuli. Fish were tested over a range of sizes to assess effects of growth on hearing ability. Tests were also run with and without background noise to assess the potential effects of masking in a natural setting. Neogobius melanostomus detected tone bursts from 100 to 600 Hz with no clear best frequency in the pressure domain but were most sensitive to 100 Hz tone stimuli when examined in terms of particle acceleration. Responses to a portion of the N. melanostomus call occurred at a significantly lower threshold than responses to pure tone stimulation. There was no effect of size on N. melanostomus hearing ability, perhaps due to growth of the otolith keeping pace with growth of the auditory epithelium. Neogobius melanostomus were masked by both ambient noise and white noise, but not until sound pressure levels were relatively high, having a 5–10 dB threshold shift at noise levels of 150 dB re 1 µPa and higher but not at lower noise levels.

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