The ocean is getting louder because 'world's loudest' shrimp are heating up, biologist says

  • In Science
  • 2020-02-19 17:49:04Z
The ocean is getting louder because \
The ocean is getting louder because \'world\'s loudest\' shrimp are heating up, biologist says  

A sea creature less than 2 inches long is one of the ocean's loudest creatures, and research has found that it may only get louder as a result of the oceans getting warmer.

The "snapping shrimp" - also known as the pistol shrimp - is notable for its massive claw, which is about half the size of its entire body.

The shrimp closes its claw so fast that it generates a bubble that is louder than a bullet when it implodes, according to Stanford University. The "snap" stuns its prey, giving it enough time to attack and feed on its prey.

It's one of the more common sounds in the ocean, but it may become louder and more frequent as water temperatures in the ocean rise, said Aran Mooney, a marine biologist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Mooney, along with researcher Ashlee Lillis, listened to shrimp sounds at different temperatures and found that the snapping shrimp emit louder, more frequent sounds as water temperatures rise. He will present the findings at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego Friday.

Shrimp tend to move much faster when water is warmer because they are cold-blooded. Per CalTech, most cold-blooded creatures' muscle activity is expedited when their surroundings are hot.

"We can actually show in the field that not only does snap rate increase, but the sound levels increase as well," Mooney said in a statement. "So the seas are actually getting louder as water ... temperatures (get warmer)."

Mooney cautions that this may have repercussions for fish and for human uses of sonar, such as detecting fish and clearing underwater mines.

It may also spell danger for whales, which communicate with each other across long distances.

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Snapping shrimp: Ocean getting louder due to 'world's loudest' shrimp


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