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Effect of marine noise pollution on invertebrate physiology: using echinoderms as a model

Grant number: 21/10161-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2022
Effective date (End): October 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Physiology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Renata Guimarães Moreira Whitton
Grantee:Vinicius Queiroz Araújo
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Sound is naturally abundant in the marine environment, originating from both biotic and abiotic sources. From a biological perspective, the sound is important in different contexts, being used for communication, spatial orientation, detection of prey and predators, as well as in the search for reproductive partners. However, only recently the impact caused by noise pollution has received due attention. In fact, the increase of anthropogenic activities has drastically changed the natural marine sound background, reaching levels 10 to 100 times higher than those observed in the past, and this increase is known by affecting the physiological and behavioral responses of mammals and fish. Therefore, the objective of this project is to evaluate the influence of marine noise pollution on the biological processes of echinoderms, using a multilevel approach to identify the extent of impacts. For this, sea urchins will be used, in which responses at different levels of the biological organization will be evaluated. An experimental approach will be used to investigate how physiology (cellular and humoral immune responses, along with hormonal ones), behavior, and embryonic and larval development respond to the stress caused by noise pollution. To analyze these responses, newly collected animals will be exposed in a brief and prolonged way (3h and 7d respectively) to pre-established sound frequencies, and the physiological, behavioral, and developmental effects will be observed. The analysis of parameters at different levels of the biological organization will provide a broad understanding of how noise pollution can affect these animals, and what mechanisms they use to cope with this kind of stress. (AU)

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