New paper: Mussels’ response to sound is affected by pulse rate

We just published a new paper ‘Acoustic disturbance in blue mussels: sound-induced valve closure varies with pulse train speed but does not affect phytoplankton clearance rate‘ and it’s open access (link)! The paper is authored by Rosalie Moens, Rob Witbaard, Hans Slabbekoorn and myself.

Mussels have been shown to respond to sound by closing their valves. We wondered whether different types of sound would affect mussels differently, and whether sound-induced valve gape closure meant that cleared (or consumed) less phytoplankton from the water.

We found that mussels that were exposed to pulse trains with a longer pulse interval took longer to return to pre-exposure baseline levels. We also found a link between valve gape and phytoplankton clearance rate, but no effect of the sound treatment on their clearance rate. We showed that different sound exposures can impact mussels differently, which is relevant for impact assessments and mitigation measures. Future research should also test the effects of sound on mussels in the field.