Science for Society - Behavioural Biology
- We study underwater sound and fish behaviour for the sake of fish and human water use
You seldomly hear fish. This is because you are above and they are below water and because you do not listen for them with a hydrophone. Many fish produce sound to communicate with other fish, and they may also use sound to find prey, avoid predators, or to find their way during migration.
Fish are part of the Dutch biodiversity with many common, rare, beautiful, and interesting species. Many of these fish are important to recreational and professional fishers, and some species may have a large impact on aquatic ecosystems and water use efficiency. They can influence water clarity and vegetation density and composition, and they can block pumping systems or cooling water intake at factories.
We study the role of sound in communication and migration for Dutch freshwater fish. A growing number of recreational and professional boats, construction and piling activities, pumping stations, and other motorized gear, make a lot of noise under water. We investigate the negative impact on fish in terms of disturbance, damage, and masking of biologically relevant sounds, aiming at improving fish bypass constructions and providing solutions for fish migration bottlenecks.
- White bream
White bream (Blicca bjoerkna) after passage through a water pump for water level control in Dutch polders