Toadfish don't like dance music
University of Miami's research fish stressed from Ultra Music Festival
JACKSONVILLE, Fla – As thousands of people partied next door to a three day EDM music festival, fish were not celebrating.
It was like a bad hangover for toadfish in neighboring research holding tanks.
Turns out sound waves emanating from the speakers were more distressing than being chased by predators according to a preliminary analysis done by UM scientists.
Toadfish are apropos for learning about the role of serotonin, the neurochemical that regulates physiological moods, and next door’s University of Miami lab is dedicated to this research on Virginia Key.
The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science lab located 1,200 feet from one of Ultra’s stages measured noise in the tanks 10 dB higher than average giving fish a clear and significant hormone boost in cortisol, which is a proxy for stress response.
The report shows the fish were less stressed than being in a crowded tank but more stressed than if they heard the sounds from the toadfish eating dolphins.
The cortisol increases in blood helps toadfish escape predators but also shuts down non essential physiological processes that control digestion, reproduction, and communication.
Scientist are not sure about long term effects of the noise and Ultra Music Festival attorneys have made a point to reiterate “The report, on its face, does not reach any conclusions regarding long-term effects of Ultra.”
At this time it is not known if next year's event will take place at the same location.
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