Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Sensitivity of Pagurus bernhardus (L.) to substrate-borne vibration and anthropogenic noise

Roberts, Louise; Cheesman, Samuel; Elliott, Michael; Breithaupt, Thomas


Louise Roberts

Samuel Cheesman

Profile Image

Professor Mike Elliott
Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies

Thomas Breithaupt


© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Despite the prevalence of vibration produced by anthropogenic activities impacting the seabed there are few data and little information as to whether these are detected by crustaceans and whether they interfere with their behaviour. Here the sensitivity of unconditioned Pagurus bernhardus to substrate-borne vibration was quantified by exposure to sinusoidal vibrations of 5-410Hz of varied amplitudes using the staircase method of threshold determination, with threshold representing the detection of the response and two behavioural responses used as reception indicators: movement of the second antenna and onset or cessation of locomotion. Thresholds were compared to measured vibrations close to anthropogenic operations and to the time in captivity prior to tests. Behaviour varied according to the strength of the stimulus with a significant difference in average threshold values between the two behavioural indicators, although there was an overlap between the two, with overall sensitivity ranging from 0.09-0.44ms -2 (root mean squared, RMS). Crabs of shortest duration in captivity prior to tests had significantly greater sensitivity to vibration, down to 0.02ms -2 (RMS). The sensitivity of P. bernhardus fell well within the range of vibrations measured near anthropogenic operations. The data indicate that anthropogenic substrate-borne vibrations have a clear effect on the behaviour of a common marine crustacean. The study emphasises that these vibrations are an important component of noise pollution that requires further attention to understand the long term effects on marine crustaceans.


Roberts, L., Cheesman, S., Elliott, M., & Breithaupt, T. (2016). Sensitivity of Pagurus bernhardus (L.) to substrate-borne vibration and anthropogenic noise. Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology, 474, 185-194.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 3, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology
Print ISSN 0022-0981
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 474
Pages 185-194
Keywords Vibration; Sensitivity threshold; Crustacea; Anthropogenic noise
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology, 2016, v.474.