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Acoustic monitoring of Atlantic cod reveals clues to spawning behavior
Date:3/22/2013

For decades researchers have recorded sounds from whales and other marine mammals, using a variety of methods including passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) to better understand how these animals use sound to interact with each other and with the environment. Now, for the first time, researchers report using this technology to record spawning cod in the wild.

Acoustic behavior in cod has been of interest for several decades, but few studies have observed their use of sound as part of reproductive behavior. Although both sexes produce low frequency "grunts", only male Atlantic cod make this sound during spawning season.

Researchers from NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and their colleagues from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), School of Marine Science & Technology at UMass Dartmouth (SMAST), and Cornell University's Bioacoustics Research Program recently reported their findings, online, in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.

"Few current coastal cod spawning sites are known, especially given historical data that indicate many cod spawning sites once existed along the New England coast. Passive acoustics makes locating potential sites much easier." said study co-author Sofie Van Parijs, who heads the passive acoustics group at NOAA Fisheries' Woods Hole Laboratory.

The findings have implications for conservation and management of this iconic species and possibly for other recreational and commercial fish species. Species in more than 100 families of fish are known to produce sounds. The cod family contains several sound-producing species, including haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), pollock (Pollachius virens) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua).

The researchers report on a 2011 pilot study in northern Massachusetts Bay. A single marine autonomous recording unit (MARU) was deployed at a depth of 51 meters (168 feet) within a seas
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Contact: Shelley Dawicki
Shelley.Dawicki@noaa.gov
508-495-2378
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Source:Eurekalert

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