Impact of vessel traffic on the home ranges and movement of shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius) in the nearshore environment of the high Arctic
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Sea ice reduction in the Arctic is allowing for increased vessel traffic and activity. Vessel noise is a known anthropogenic disturbance, but its effects on Arctic fish are largely unknown. Using acoustic telemetry — Vemco positioning system — we quantified the home ranges and fine-scale movement types (MT) of shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius), a common benthic Arctic fish, in response to vessels and environmental drivers during open water over 3 years (2012–2014). Low overlap of core home ranges (50%) for all years and a change of overall MT proportions (significant in 2012 only) were observed when vessels were present compared with absent. However, changes in MTs associated with vessel presence were not consistent between years. Photoperiod was the only environmental driver that influenced (R2 = 0.32) MTs of sculpin. This is the first study of vessel impacts on Arctic fish using acoustic telemetry and demonstrates that individuals alter their behavior and home ranges when vessels are present. Given increasing vessel traffic in the Arctic, additional study on the impact of vessels on these ecosystems is warranted.
Ivanova, Silviya V.; Kessel, Steven T.; Landry, Justin; O’Neill, Caitlin; McLean, Montana F.; Espinoza, Mario; Vagle, Svein; Hussey, Nigel E.; and Fisk, Aaron T.. (2018). Impact of vessel traffic on the home ranges and movement of shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius) in the nearshore environment of the high Arctic. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 75 (12), 2390-2400.