Intensive aquaculture production often utilizes equipment (e.g., aerators, air and water pumps, harvesters, blowers, filtration systems, and maintenance machinery) that increases noise levels in fish culture tanks. Consequently, chronic exposure to elevated noise levels in tanks could negatively impact cultured species. Possible effects include impairment of the auditory system, increased stress, and reduced growth rates. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term effects of sound exposure on the hearing sensitivity, growth, and survival of cultured rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Two cohorts of rainbow trout were cultured for 8??months in replicated tanks consisting of three sound treatments: 115, 130, or 150 decibels referenced at 1 micropascal (dB re 1????Pa root mean square [RMS]) levels. Auditory evoked potential (AEP) recordings revealed no significant differences in hearing thresholds resulting from exposure to increased ambient sound levels. Although there was no evident noise-induced hearing loss, there were significant differences in hearing thresholds between the two fish cohorts examined. No statistical effect of sound treatment was found for growth rate and mortality within each fish cohort. There was no significant difference in mortality between sound treatments when fish were exposed to the pathogen Yersinia ruckeri, but there was significantly different mortality between cohorts. This study indicated that rainbow trout hearing sensitivity, growth, survival, stress, and disease susceptibility were not negatively impacted by noise levels common to recirculating aquaculture systems. These findings should not be generalized to all cultured fish species, however, because many species, including catfish and cyprinids, have much greater hearing sensitivity than rainbow trout and could be affected differently by noise. ?? 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Effects of aquaculture production noise on hearing, growth, and disease resistance of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss