Effects of nautical traffic and noise on foraging patterns of Mediterranean damlsefish (Chromis chromis)

Gianluca Sara', Daniela Campobello, Claudia Bracciali, Cristina Giacoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Chromis chromis is a key species in the Mediterranean marine coastal ecosystems where, in summer, recreational boating and its associated noise overlap. Anthropogenic noise could induce behavioural modifications in marine organisms, thereby affecting population dynamics. In the case of an important species for the ecosystem like C. chromis, this could rebound on the community structure. Here, we measured nautical traffic during the summer of 2007 in a Southern Mediterranean Marine Protected Area (MPA) and simultaneously the feeding behaviour of C. chromis was video-recorded, within both the no-take A-zone and the B-zone where recreational use is allowed. Feeding frequencies, escape reaction and school density were analysed. C. chromis specimens were also collected from 2007 to 2008 to evaluate their physiological state using the Body Condition Index as a proxy of feeding efficiency. The MPA was more exploited by nautical tourism during holidays than on weekdays, particularly in the middle of the day. Greater traffic volume corresponded with lower feeding frequencies. The escape reaction was longer in duration (>1 min) when boat passed nearby, while moored boats did not induce an escape response. We found no differences in density between schools in the A- and B-zones and worse body conditions among those individuals inhabiting the B-zone in one area only. Overall, our findings revealed a significant modification of the daily foraging habits of C. chromis due to boat noise, which was slightly buffered by no-take zones established within the MPA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS One
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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