Although ambient biological underwater sound was first characterized more than 60 years ago, attributing specific components of ambient sound to their creators remains a challenge. Noise produced by snapping shrimp typically dominates the ambient spectra near tropical coasts, but significant unexplained spectral variation exists. Here, evidence is presented indicating that a discernible contribution to the ambient sound field over coral reef ecosystems in the Line Islands archipelago originates from the interaction of hard-shelled benthic macro-organisms with the coral substrate. Recordings show a broad spectral peak centered between 14.30 and 14.63 kHz, incoherently added to a noise floor typically associated with relatively “white” snapping shrimp sounds. A 4.6 to 6.2 dB increase of pressure spectral density level in the 11 to 17 kHz band occurs simultaneously with an increase in benthic invertebrate activity at night, quantified through time-lapse underwater photography. Spectral-level-filtered recordings of hermit crabs Clibanarius diugeti in quiet aquarium conditions reveal that transient sounds produced by the interaction between the crustaceans' carapace, shell, and coral substrate are spectrally consistent with Line Islands recordings. Coral reef ecosystems are highly interconnected and subtle yet important ecological changes may be detected quantitatively through passive monitoring that utilizes the acoustic byproducts of biological activity.

1.
Akamatsu
,
T.
,
Okumura
,
T.
,
Novarini
,
N.
, and
Yan
,
H. Y.
(
2002
). “
Empirical refinements applicable to the recording of fish sounds in small tanks
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
112
(
6
),
3073
3082
.
2.
Au
,
W. W. L.
, and
Banks
,
K.
(
1998
). “
The acoustics of the snapping shrimp Synalpheus parneomeris in Kaneohe Bay
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
103
,
41
47
.
3.
Bardyshev
,
V. I.
(
2007
). “
Underwater ambient noise in shallow-water areas of the Indian Ocean within the tropical zone
,”
Acoust. Phys.
53
,
167
171
.
4.
Bardyshev
,
V. I.
(
2010
). “
Underwater sounds of the Pacific Ocean in the shelf zone of Shikotan Island
,”
Acoust. Phys.
56
,
49
58
.
5.
Bjorno
,
L.
(
1987
). “
Sources of underwater ultrasound
,” in
Ultrasonics International 87 Conference Proceedings
(
Butterworth
,
Guildford, U.K.
), pp.
244
251
.
6.
Budelmann
,
B. U.
(
1992
). “
Hearing in crustacean
,” in
The Evolutionary Biology of Hearing
(
Springer
,
New York
), pp.
131
139
.
7.
Cato
,
D. H.
(
1980
). “
Some unusual sounds of apparently biological origin responsible for sustained background noise in the Timor Sea
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
68
,
1056
1060
.
8.
Cato
,
D. H.
(
1993
). “
The biological contribution to ambient noise in waters near Australia
,”
Acoust. Aust.
20
,
76
80
.
9.
Cato
,
D. H.
, and
Bell
,
M. J.
(
1992
). “
Ultrasonic ambient noise in Australian shallow waters at frequencies up to 200 kHZ
,” Material Research Laboratory technical report No. MRL-TR91-23, Ascot Vale, Victoria.
10.
Cato
,
D. H.
, and
McCauley
,
R. D.
(
2002
). “
Australian research in ambient sea noise
,”
Acoust. Aust.
30
(
1
),
13
20
.
11.
Chitre
,
M.
,
Kuselan
,
S.
, and
Pallayil
,
V.
(
2012
). “
Ambient noise imaging in warm shallow waters; robust statistical algorithms and range estimation
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
132
(
2
),
838
847
.
12.
Coutis
,
P. F.
, and
Middleton
,
J. H.
(
1999
). “
Flow-topography interaction in the vicinity of an isolated, deep ocean island
,”
Deep-Sea Res. Part I: Ocean. Res. Papers
46
,
1633
1652
.
13.
Cummings
,
W. C.
, and
Holliday
,
D. V.
(
1985
). “
Passive acoustic location of bowhead whales in a population census off Point Barrow, Alaska
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
78
(
4
),
1163
1169
.
14.
DeMartini
,
E. E.
,
Friedlander
,
A. M.
,
Sandin
,
S. A.
, and
Sala
,
E.
(
2008
). “
Differences in fish assemblage structure between fished and unfished atolls in the northern Line Islands, central Pacific
,”
Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser.
365
,
199
215
.
15.
D'Spain
,
G.
, and
Batchelor
,
H.
(
2006
). “
Observations of biological choruses in the Southern California Bight: A chorus at midfrequencies
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
120
(
4
),
1942
1955
.
16.
Everest
,
F. A.
,
Young
,
R. W.
, and
Johnson
,
M. W.
(
1948
). “
Acoustical characteristics of noise produced by snapping shrimp
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
20
,
137
142
.
17.
Ferguson
,
B. G.
, and
Cleary
,
J. L.
(
2000
). “
In situ source level and source position estimates of biological transient signals produced by snapping shrimp in an underwater environment
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
109
(
6
),
3031
3037
.
19.
Hiatt
,
R. H.
, and
Strasburg
,
D. W.
(
1960
). “
Ecological relationships of the fish fauna on coral reefs of the Marshall Islands
,”
Ecol. Mon.
30
,
65
127
.
20.
Hobson
,
E. S.
(
1972
). “
Activity of Hawaiian reef fishes during evening and morning transitions between daylight and darkness
,”
Bull. Natl. Ocean. Atmos. Admin.
70
(
3
),
715
740
.
21.
International Transducer Corporation, Ltd.
(
1996
).
Specifications of ITC 6080-C hydrophone, Ser. No.1545
(
International Transducer Corporation
,
Santa Barbara
), pp.
1
10
.
22.
Jackson
,
J. C. B.
,
Kirby
,
M. X.
,
Berger
,
W. H.
,
Bjorndal
,
K. A.
,
Botsford
,
L. W.
,
Bourque
,
B. J.
,
Bradbury
,
R. H.
,
Cooke
,
R.
,
Erlandson
,
J.
,
Estes
,
J. A.
,
Hughes
,
T. P.
,
Kidwell
,
S.
,
Lange
,
C. B.
,
Lenihan
,
H. S.
,
Pandolfi
,
J. M.
,
Peterson
,
C. H.
,
Steneck
,
R. S.
,
Tegner
,
M. J.
, and
Warner
,
R. R.
(
2001
). “
Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems
,”
Science
293
,
629
638
.
23.
Johnston
,
M. W.
,
Everest
,
F. A.
, and
Young
,
R. W.
(
1947
). “
The role of snapping shrimp (Crangon and Synalpheus) in the production of under-water noise in the sea
,”
Biol. Bull.
93
(
2
),
122
138
.
24.
Kim
,
B.-N.
,
Hahn
,
J.
,
Choi
,
B. K.
, and
Kim
,
B.-C.
(
2010
). “
Snapping shrimp sound measured under laboratory conditions
,”
Jpn. J. Appl. Phys.
49
(
7
),
1
4
.
25.
Kim
,
B. N.
,
Hahn
,
J.
,
Choi
,
B. K.
,
Kim
,
B. C.
,
Park
,
Y.
,
Jung
,
S. K.
, and
Lee
,
Y. K.
(
2011
). “
Acoustic characteristics of the snapping shrimp sound observed in the Coastal Sea of Korea
,”
Jpn. J. Appl. Phys.
50
(
7
),
1
6
.
26.
Knowlton
,
R. E.
, and
Moulton
,
J. M.
(
1963
). “
Sound production in snapping shrimps Alpheus (Crangon) and Synalpheus
,”
Bio. Bull.
125
,
311
331
.
27.
Knudsen
,
V. O.
,
Alford
,
R. S.
, and
Emling
,
J. W.
(
1948
). “
Underwater ambient noise
,”
J. Mar. Res.
7
,
410
429
.
28.
Lammers
,
M. O.
,
Brainard
,
R. E.
,
Au
,
W. W. L.
,
Mooney
,
T. A.
, and
Wong
,
K. B.
(
2008
). “
An ecological acoustic recorder (EAR) for long-term monitoring of biological and anthropogenic sounds on coral reefs and other marine habitats
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
123
(
3
),
1720
1728
.
29.
Loggerhead Instruments, Inc.
(
2011
).
DSG Manual: Digital Spectrogram Long-Term Acoustic Recorder
, V.
1.7
, pp.
1
37
.
30.
Ma
,
B. B.
,
Nystuen
,
J. A.
, and
Lien
,
Ren-Chieh
(
2005
). “
Prediction of underwater sound levels from rain and wind
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
117
(
6
),
3555
3565
.
31.
Mann
,
D. A.
, and
Tucker
,
T. J.
(
2000
). “
Programmable DSP datalogger for animal bioacoustics monitoring (A)
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
108
,
2584
.
32.
McCauley
,
R. D.
, and
Cato
,
D. H.
(
2000
). “
Patterns of fish calling in a near shore environment in the Great Barrier Reef
,”
Philos. Trans. Biol. Sci.
355
(
1401
),
1289
1293
.
33.
National Research Council
(
2003
).
Ocean Noise and Marine Mammals
(
National Academy Press
,
Washington, DC
), p.
196
.
34.
Okumura
,
T.
,
Akamatsu
,
T.
, and
Yan
,
H. Y.
(
2002
). “
Analyses of small tank acoustics: Empirical and theoretical approaches
,”
Bioacoustics
12
,
330
332
.
35.
Payne
,
A.
,
Cotter
,
J.
, and
Potter
,
T.
(
2008
).
Advances in Fisheries Science: 50 Years on From Beverton and Holt
(
Wiley-Blackwell
,
Oxford
), pp.
451
471
.
36.
Plaisance
,
L.
,
Caley
,
M. J.
,
Brainard
,
R. E.
, and
Knowlton
,
N.
(
2011
). “
The diversity of coral reefs: What are we missing?
,”
PLoS ONE
6
(
10
),
e25026
.
37.
Plaisance
,
L.
,
Knowlton
,
N.
,
Paulay
,
G.
, and
Meyer
,
C.
(
2009
). “
Reef-associated crustacean fauna: Biodiversity estimates using semi-quantitative sampling and DNA barcoding
,”
Coral Reefs.
28
(
4
),
977
986
.
38.
Radford
,
C. A.
,
Jeffs
,
A. G.
,
Tindle
,
C. T.
, and
Montgomery
,
J. C.
(
2008a
). “
Temporal patterns in ambient noise of biological origin from a shallow water temperate reef
,”
Oecologia
156
,
921
929
.
39.
Radford
,
C.
,
Jeffs
,
A.
,
Tindle
,
C.
, and
Montgomery
,
J. C.
(
2008b
). “
Resonating sea urchin skeletons create coastal choruses
,”
Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.
362
,
37
43
.
40.
Radford
,
C. A.
,
Stanley
,
J. A.
,
Tindle
,
C. T.
,
Montgomery
,
J. C.
, and
Jeffs
,
A. G.
(
2010
). “
Localised coastal habitats have distinct underwater sound signatures
,”
Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.
401
,
21
29
.
41.
Readhead
,
M. L.
(
1997
). “
Snapping shrimp noise near Gladstone, Queensland
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
101
(
3
),
1718
1722
.
42.
Sandin
,
S. A.
,
Smith
,
J. E.
,
DeMartini
,
E. E.
,
Dinsdale
,
E. A.
,
Donner
,
S. D.
,
Friedlander
,
A. M.
,
Konotchick
,
T.
,
Malay
,
M.
,
Maragos
,
J. E.
,
Obura
,
D.
,
Pantos
,
O.
,
Paulay
,
G.
,
Richie
,
M.
,
Rohwer
,
F.
,
Schroeder
,
R. E.
,
Walsh
,
S.
,
Jackson
,
J. B. C.
,
Knowlton
,
N.
, and
Sala
,
E.
(
2008
). “
Baselines and degradation of coral reefs in the Northern Line Islands
,”
PLOS One
3
(
2
),
1
11
.
43.
Schiel
,
D. R.
(
2011
). “
Biogeographic patterns and long-term changes on New Zealand coastal reefs: Non-trophic cascades from diffuse and local impacts
,”
J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.
400
(
1–2
),
33
51
.
44.
Schmitz
,
B.
(
2002
). “
Sound production in Crustacea with special reference to the Alpheidae
,” in
The Crustacean Nervous System
, edited by
K.
Wiese
(
Springer-Verlag
,
New York
), pp.
536
547
.
45.
Scrimger
,
J. A.
,
Evans
,
D. J.
, and
Yee
,
W.
(
1989
). “
Underwater noise due to rain—Open ocean measurements
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
85
(
2
),
726
731
.
46.
Smith
,
J. E.
,
Smith
,
C. M.
, and
Hunter
,
C. L.
(
2001
). “
An experimental analysis of the effects of herbivory and nutrient enrichment on benthic community dynamics on a Hawaiian reef
,”
Coral Reefs.
19
,
332
342
.
47.
Takemura
,
A.
, and
Mizue
,
K.
(
1968
). “
Studies of underwater sound. I—On the underwater sound of genus Alpheus fabricius in the coastal waters of Japan
,”
Bull. Faculty Fish., Nagasaki Univ.
26
,
37
48
.
48.
Versluis
,
M.
,
Schmitz
,
B.
,
von der Heydt
,
A.
, and
Lohse
,
D.
(
2000
). “
How snapping shrimp snap: Through cavitating bubbles
,”
Science
289
,
2114
2117
.
49.
Wenz
,
G. M.
(
1962
). “
Acoustic ambient noise in ocean spectra and sources
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
34
(
12
),
1936
1956
.
50.
Wiggins
,
S. M.
, and
Hildebrand
,
J. A.
(
2007
). “
High-frequency acoustic recording package (HARP) for broad-band, long-term marine mammal monitoring
,” in
Symposium on Underwater Technology and Workshop on Scientific Use of Submarine Cables and Related Technologies
(
IEEE
,
Piscataway, NJ
), pp.
551
557
.
51.
Winn
,
H. E.
,
Edel
,
R. K.
, and
Taruski
,
A. G.
(
1975
). “
Population estimate of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the West Indies by visual and acoustic techniques
,”
J. Fish. Res. Board Can.
32
,
499
506
.
52.
Zakarauskas
,
P.
(
1986
). “
Ambient noise in shallow water: a literature review
,”
Can. Acoust.
14
,
3
17
.
You do not currently have access to this content.