Welcome to my new home. I hope you don't mind the noise from my next door neighbors! Let me explain.
You may think it’s quiet in the ocean, but a tiny creature is raising quite a ruckus as ocean temperatures rise. New research shows the oceans may be getting louder - and it's because of shrimp!
Snapping shrimp live in coastal oceans all around the world. These shrimp are tiny, but they’re also some of the loudest animals in the sea. Generally less than an inch long, these tiny crustaceans snap their claws fast to create air bubbles that implode with a pop! With these sounds, snapping shrimp communicate with each other and defend their territory. The combined snaps from shrimp colonies create a cacophony that divers and submarine crews can easily hear.
Researchers found that if you increase temperature in the water, snapping shrimp increase their snap rates and the oceans get louder. That’s likely because these animals become more active in warmer water. The heat likely increases their need to communicate with each other. Changing the temperature from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit nearly doubled the snap rate. As the temperature increased by one degree Celsius, the noise level rose by 1-2 decibels.
As ocean temperatures continue to rise, the noisy shrimp symphony could cause problems for many other ocean organisms who rely on communicating under water - from dolphins and whales to small fish and invertebrates. Only time will tell how disruptive this extra loud snapping will be!