Exposure of benthic invertebrates to sediment vibration: From laboratory experiments to outdoor simulated pile-driving

Louise Roberts, Harry R. Harding, Irene Voellmy, Rick Bruintjes, Stephen D. Simpson, Andrew N. Radford, Thomas Breithaupt, Michael Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
373 Downloads (Pure)


Activities directly interacting with the seabed, such as pile-driving, can produce vibrations that have the potential to impact benthic invertebrates within their vicinity. This stimuli may interfere with crucial behaviors such as foraging and predator avoidance, and the sensitivity to vibration is largely unknown. Here, the responsiveness of benthic invertebrates to sediment vibration is discussed in relation to laboratory and semi-field trials with two marine species: the mussel (Mytilus edulis) and hermit crab (Pagurus bernhardus). Sensory threshold curves were produced for both species in controlled laboratory conditions, followed by small-scale pile-driving exposures in the field. The merits of behavioral indicators are discussed, in addition to using physiological measures, as a method of determining reception and measuring responses. The measurement and sensors required for sediment vibration quantification are also discussed. Response and threshold data were related to measurements taken in the vicinity of anthropogenic sources, allowing a link between responsiveness and actual operations. The impact of pile-driving on sediment-dwelling invertebrates has received relatively little research, yet the data here suggest that such activities are likely to impact key coastal species which play important roles within the marine environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number010029
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Conference name: Fourth International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life


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