Aerial hearing thresholds and ecoacoustics of a threatened pursuit-diving seabird, the marbled murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus

Adam B. Smith*, Michelle Kissling, Alyssa M. Capuano, Stephen B. Lewis, T. Aran Mooney

*Kontaktforfatter

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Abstract

As humans increasingly utilize sensitive coastal areas, diving seabirds like the marbled murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus face a unique combination of exposure to pervasive anthropogenic sound and acoustically mediated disturbances in terrestrial and marine environments. Despite its threatened status, the sound sensitivities and sensory ecology of this species are unknown, limiting any predictions of the frequencies or sound levels that may induce acoustic impacts. In this study, we measured electrophysiological aerial hearing thresholds for 10 wild individuals captured, sedated, examined inside a field-deployed anechoic chamber and subsequently released. Auditory responses were detected across a 0.5 to 6 kHz frequency range. The median auditory threshold was lowest at 2 kHz (33 dB), while hearing was generally sensitive between 0.75 and 3.8 kHz. B. marmoratus thresholds were elevated compared to other studied alcid species. In-air sensitivities were used to provide an initial prediction of underwater hearing thresholds. To further explore the auditory sensory ecology of this solitary-nesting species, hearing data were also compared to short-term recordings (5 d) of the aerial soundscape of a marbled murrelet nesting habitat. The soundscape contained both abiotic and biotic sounds that contributed to broadband sound levels of 46−55 dB re: 20 μPa rms (0.2−10 kHz). This comparatively quiet habitat enabled relatively frequent detection of anthropogenic sounds within the soundscape. Energy from this acoustic pollution consistently overlapped marbled murrelet sound sensitivities, indicating that the species is susceptible to disturbance from a range of noise types.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEndangered Species Research
Vol/bind50
Sider (fra-til)167-179
ISSN1863-5407
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. The authors thank Ole Larsen for his thoughtful discussion about the electrophysiological results of the study, as well as Scott Gende and the National Park Service for the use of their facilities and providing logistical support that enabled efficient, safe, and successful capture efforts in the field. We also thank the many individuals who provided valuable discussion and input on designing the marbled murrelet anesthesia protocols, including Scott Newman, Daniel Mulcahy, and Kate Savage. The research was conducted under approved permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (#MB68522D-0 to M.K.), US Geological Survey (#23740 to M.K.), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (#21-034 to T.A.M.) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution IACUC (ID number: BI21798.01). This work was supported by the US Navy’s Living Marine Resources Program and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Funding Information:
The authors thank Ole Larsen for his thoughtful discussion about the electrophysiological results of the study, as well as Scott Gende and the National Park Service for the use of their facilities and providing logistical support that enabled efficient, safe, and successful capture efforts in the field. We also thank the many individuals who provided valuable discussion and input on designing the marbled murrelet anesthesia protocols, including Scott Newman, Daniel Mulcahy, and Kate Savage. The research was conducted under approved permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (#MB68522D-0 to M.K.), US Geological Survey (#23740 to M.K.), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (#21-034 to T.A.M.) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution IACUC (ID number: BI21798.01). This work was supported by the US Navy’s Living Marine Resources Program and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Publisher Copyright:
© A.B.S., M.K., A.M.C., T.A.M, and outside the USA, The U.S. Government 2023. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are un - restricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.

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