A team of researchers from the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews, the University of La Laguna, Canary Islands and the University of Auckland, New Zealand, found that marine invertebrates suffered significant malformations after exposure to noise.
The team conducted a sound playback experiment on New Zealand scallop larvae, comparing their development to a control group kept in quiet conditions. The results show that the exposed scallops suffered significant development delays, with 46% developing body abnormalities, while no malformations were found in the control larvae.
Team leader, Dr Aguilar de Soto said: "Fishermen worldwide complain about reductions in captures follow seismic surveys. Our results suggest noise could be one factor explaining delayed effects on stocks."