Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2013 Oct 30;8(10):e79337. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079337. eCollection 2013.

Oyster larvae settle in response to habitat-associated underwater sounds.

Author information

1
Department of Marine, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States of America.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2014;9(1). doi:10.1371/annotation/b04bc087-808a-4edc-ae2a-08932bff360c.

Abstract

Following a planktonic dispersal period of days to months, the larvae of benthic marine organisms must locate suitable seafloor habitat in which to settle and metamorphose. For animals that are sessile or sedentary as adults, settlement onto substrates that are adequate for survival and reproduction is particularly critical, yet represents a challenge since patchily distributed settlement sites may be difficult to find along a coast or within an estuary. Recent studies have demonstrated that the underwater soundscape, the distinct sounds that emanate from habitats and contain information about their biological and physical characteristics, may serve as broad-scale environmental cue for marine larvae to find satisfactory settlement sites. Here, we contrast the acoustic characteristics of oyster reef and off-reef soft bottoms, and investigate the effect of habitat-associated estuarine sound on the settlement patterns of an economically and ecologically important reef-building bivalve, the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). Subtidal oyster reefs in coastal North Carolina, USA show distinct acoustic signatures compared to adjacent off-reef soft bottom habitats, characterized by consistently higher levels of sound in the 1.5-20 kHz range. Manipulative laboratory playback experiments found increased settlement in larval oyster cultures exposed to oyster reef sound compared to unstructured soft bottom sound or no sound treatments. In field experiments, ambient reef sound produced higher levels of oyster settlement in larval cultures than did off-reef sound treatments. The results suggest that oyster larvae have the ability to respond to sounds indicative of optimal settlement sites, and this is the first evidence that habitat-related differences in estuarine sounds influence the settlement of a mollusk. Habitat-specific sound characteristics may represent an important settlement and habitat selection cue for estuarine invertebrates and could play a role in driving settlement and recruitment patterns in marine communities.

PMID:
24205381
PMCID:
PMC3813695
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0079337
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center