Sound characterization of the European lobster Homarus gammarus in tanks


Youenn Jézéquel, Julien Bonnel, Jennifer Coston-Guarini, Jean-Marc Guarini, Laurent Chauvaud



Experiments in marine behavioural ecology rely heavily on observations made in tanks. However, when studying acoustic behaviours of marine animals in confined volumes, the effects of  reverberation must be characterized, something that has been overlooked in parts of the marine ecology literature. In this study, we characterized reverberation in tanks using an artificial sound source and examined the implications for bioacoustic studies using sounds emitted by the European lobster Homarus gammarus during feeding and in response to stress. Broadband and transient sounds commonly produced by crustaceans were severely impacted by reverberation such that their spectral characteristics and pulse width durations could not be assessed. In contrast, lowfrequency sounds could be characterized in tanks, but not their source level. Based on these observations, we describe a simple methodology to identify which sound characteristics can be measured in tanks. When feeding, the lobsters produced broadband and transient sounds called ‘rattles’, similar to sounds reported for tropical spiny lobsters Palinurus longipes and P. argus.  When stressed, H. gammarus vibrated its carapace, producing a low-frequency sound analogous to the ‘buzzing’ sound of the American lobster H. americanus. The potential role of species-specific sound is discussed; however, although our observations represent the first bioacoustic characterization of H. gammarus, additional behavioural studies are necessary to understand their ecological meaning.

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Jézéquel Y, Bonnel J, Coston-Guarini J, Guarini JM, Chauvaud L (2018) Sound characterization of the European lobster Homarus gammarus in tanks. Aquat Biol 27:13-23.

Influence of diatom diversity on the ocean biological carbon pump


Diatoms sustain the marine food web and contribute to the export of carbon from the surface ocean to depth. They account for about 40% of marine primary productivity and particulate carbon exported to depth as part of the biological pump. Diatoms have long been known to be abundant in turbulent, nutrient-rich waters, but observations and simulations indicate that they are dominant also in meso- and submesoscale structures such as fronts and filaments, and in the deep chlorophyll maximum. Diatoms vary widely in size, morphology and elemental composition, all of which control the quality, quantity and sinking speed of biogenic matter to depth. In particular, their silica shells provide ballast to marine snow and faecal pellets, and can help transport carbon to both the mesopelagic layer and deep ocean. Herein we show that the extent to which diatoms contribute to the export of carbon varies by diatom type, with carbon transfer modulated by the Si/C ratio of diatom cells, the thickness of the shells and their life strategies; for instance, the tendency to form aggregates or resting spores. Model simulations project a decline in the contribution of diatoms to primary production everywhere outside of the Southern Ocean. We argue that we need to understand changes in diatom diversity, life cycle and plankton interactions in a warmer and more acidic ocean in much more detail to fully assess any changes in their contribution to the biological pump.


Graphical abstract


Tréguer, P., Bowler, C., Moriceau, B., Dutkiewicz, S., Gehlen, M., Aumont, O., Bittner,L., Dugdale, R., Finkel, Z., Ludicone, D., Jahn,O., Guidi, L., Lasbleiz, M., Leblanc, K., Levy, M. & Pondaven, P. (2017). Influence of diatom diversity on the ocean biological carbon pump. Nature Geoscience 11, 27–37 (2017). doi:10.1038/s41561-017-0028-x