Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental and Forest Biology

Thesis Advisor

Susan E. Parks


The impacts of boat noise on various fish species have gained an increasing amount of attention in the scientific community. The objective of this experiment was to determine the behavioral effects of boat noise on fish populations in Oneida Lake. A second objective was to analyze the frequency and audibility of boat noise and compare normal conditions to those during a bass tournament. An underwater camera was used to capture fish behavior and a hydrophone was used to simultaneously record boat noise at the Oneida Lake Shore Park boat launch. A 1–sided paired test determined no significant increase in the number of fish present (p=0.107), the number of swimming fish (p=0.097), and the number of stationary fish (p=0.312) between periods of no boat noise and periods of boat noise. A 1-sided t-test found no significant increase in the number of boats (p=0.212) or in the audibility (p=0.402) or presence (p=0.498) of boats during the bass tournament. These results could imply that these fish have habituated to boat noise or are minimally affected due to low hearing sensitivity. Due to the potential to alter ecosystem functioning, it is important to determine how anthropogenic disturbances such as boat noise can impact the biology of fish populations and to monitor increases in noise pollution over time.