Ultra Music Fest Sounds Stressed Out Nearby Fish, Study Says

Marine biologists say the recent Ultra Music Festival left some fish stressed out.

A study by University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science found that toadfish that were in tanks at a research lab next to the Virginia Key concert site tested for high stress hormone levels.

Researchers used an underwater microphone before and during Ultra and recorded a 7 to 9 decibel increase in sound, which led to stress hormone levels that were higher than when a toadfish is being chased by a bottlenose dolphin, the study said.

Audio recordings of what the fish could hear during the festival were released by researchers on Tuesday. Researchers said large physical barriers were in place to block sound from disturbing fish, but another underwater microphone under Bear Cut Bridge also found an increase of 2 to 3 decibels.

"I wasn't expecting to hear anything" from Ultra, said professor Claire Paris, a biological oceanographer at the Rosenstiel School.

Paris said she doesn't know what the noise does to the fish, and it's unknown how the sound affected fish at the nearby Miami Seaquarium.

Ultra Music Fest announced earlier this month that they were voluntarily terminating their license with the City of Miami and would be relocating to a different South Florida location.

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