Noise echoes in water much faster than in air and also has a significantly greater impact on the lives of the animals that live here. Until now, many people thought that noise only affects marine animals, but has a negative effect even on seagrass. Noise pollution can seriously damage the structure of a plant.
The study revealed the harmful effects of noise pollution
There are many sources of noise, from boats to drilling rigs or noisy tourists. Noise in the ocean affects not only animals that have hearing, but all marine organisms. A study published in the journal Nature showed that at least one species of seagrass suffers greatly when exposed to acoustic chaos. The studied species of seagrass was – Neptune grass, protected seagrass species native to the Mediterranean Sea. The damage is especially pronounced in the parts of the plant responsible for detecting gravity and storing energy.
Noise also threatens cephalopods
The research leader is Michel André, director of the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Spain. He was led to research by previous research, which focused on a study that examined the effect of noise on cephalopods. Cephalopods do not have auditory organs, but have statocysts – organs, for balance and orientation. These organs perceive vibrational waves and noise also has a bad effect on them.
“This totally shifted our vision and our approach to noise pollution,” says André, because until that point, researchers had focused on concerns for whales and dolphins, which use sound to mate, find food, communicate, and navigate. Thousands of marine animals, from corals to jellyfish, possess statocysts, opening up the possibility that human-generated sounds could be having much farther-reaching effects.
This is a little-talked about issue and everyone needs to know how dangerous noise pollution can be. There are no statocysts in seagrass, but these organisms have cellular structures called amyloplasts. Amyloplasts sense gravity and help aquatic plants get their roots down and push them through the seabed sediments.
The experiment proved the negative effect of noise
André and his colleagues conducted an experiment in which they played sounds through a loudspeaker with a frequency of 50 to 400 hertz. The sounds were reminiscent of human activity that is specific to the marine environment. The seagrass was exposed to noise for two hours and then examined for damage. The acoustic damage was great and constantly getting worse. The level of starches in amyloplasts dropped sharply and the symbiotic fungus, which helps seagrass in receiving nutrients, was disrupted.
Impact on carbon storage
Seagrass also plays a significant role in storing carbon dioxide. Seagrass meadows store huge amounts of carbon, where carbon can be stored for thousands of years. Research also includes Aurora Ricart, a marine ecologist at Maine’s Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.
“If the sound is affecting the starch,” Ricart says, “then carbon metabolism within the plant is going to change, for sure. And this might have effects on the role the plants have on carbon sequestration at the bigger scale. ”
According to André, the discovery that noise pollution affects seagrass is just the beginning. “There is no reason to think that other plants should not suffer from the same trauma,” he says.
Great attention should be paid to this research. Man is involved in the destruction of life in the ocean in many ways, and noise pollution is one of them. It is necessary to focus on this problem and do everything so that it does not endanger marine life. Life in the oceans is important not only for the marine ecosystem, but for the ecosystem of the entire planet.
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