Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
As concerns about the effects of underwater anthropogenic noises on the auditory function of organisms increases, it is imperative to assess if all organisms are equally affected by the same noise source. Consequently, auditory capabilities of an organism need to be evaluated and compared interspecifically. Teleost fishes provide excellent models to examine these issues due to their diversity of hearing capabilities. Broadly, fishes can be categorized as hearing specialists (broad hearing frequency range with low auditory thresholds) or hearing generalists (narrower frequency range with higher auditory thresholds). The goal of this study was to examine the immediate effects of white noise exposure (0.3–2.0 kHz, 142 dB re: 1 μPa) and recovery after exposure (1–6 days) on a hearing generalist fish, bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). Noise exposure resulted in only a slight, but not statistically significant, elevation in auditory threshold compared to fish not exposed to noise. In combination with results from our previous studies examining effects of noise on a hearing specialist fish, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), this study provides evidence supporting the hypothesis that fish’s auditory thresholds can be differentially affected by noise exposure.
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