Navigation Links
UMass Amherst ecologists among the first to record and study deep-sea fish noises

AMHERST, Mass. University of Massachusetts Amherst fish biologists have published one of the first studies of deep-sea fish sounds in more than 50 years, collected from the sea floor about 2,237 feet (682 meters) below the North Atlantic. With recording technology now more affordable, Rodney Rountree, Francis Juanes and colleagues are exploring the idea that many fish make sounds to communicate with each other, especially those that live in the perpetual dark of the deep ocean.

Though little is known at present about the significance of sounds made by deep-sea fishes, Rountree and Juanes say that if, as their pilot study suggests, these tend to be low-amplitude, then man-made noise in the oceans may turn out to be a particular problem for some important species.

Their paper appears in the new book, "Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life," from Springer Science+Business Media in its "Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology" series. It compiles papers from an international workshop in Ireland in 2010.

Using hydrophones deployed by fishermen during normal fishing operations, Rountree, Juanes and colleagues obtained a 24-hour recording in Welkers Canyon south of Georges Bank that yielded "a wealth of biological sounds" including sounds of fin, humpback and pilot whales, dolphins and examples of at least 12 other unique and unidentified sounds they attribute to other whales or fish.

Their new paper includes graphics showing the number of these grunts, drumming and duck-like calls recorded per minute by time of day, plus peak volume and frequencies of various noises. Some of the sounds exhibited strong temporal patterns, for example fin whale and dolphin sounds dominated the recording and peaked at night.

Rountree, who makes a collection of fish sounds available on his popular website to engage and educate the public, explains, "We think work to describe underwater sounds is extremely valuable. The importance of sound in the ecology of both freshwater and marine systems is poorly understood. At this point, in fact, most of our work consists of making careful observations, which of course is the first step in the scientific process."

He adds, "If sound is important to these deep sea fishes, it's a whole area of ecology we need to know about. One reason is that fishermen are exploring deeper and deeper water to make their catch, and we need to know such things as the baseline populations of food fish, their requirements for spawning, their essential habitat and other key aspects of their lives. We believe passive acoustic monitoring is an important tool in this study. And, it doesn't harm the fish or their habitat."

Unlike active acoustic studies that bounce sound waves out and back, passive acoustic studies involve just listening. Rountree and Juanes have been promoting underwater passive acoustic studies for more than a decade. They hope to create a census of sounds and behavior observed concomitant with sounds from many different aquatic and marine habitats.

Juanes says some fish use special "sonic muscles" to produce some sounds, and different sounds have different meanings or functions. Many are believed to be related to reproductive behavior. Some fish use a "sound map" for orientation in their immediate environment and may even use sound waves returning from distant beaches to help them navigate over longer distances. "There is a fascinating acoustic soundscape out there just waiting to be explored."

Rountree adds, "It's not only that some fish make sounds, but we think the overall soundscape is interesting and important." This study was supported by MIT Sea Grant.

In addition to their deep-sea recording project, the researchers are conducting pioneering passive acoustic surveys of sound in many different habitats, such as freshwater ponds, rivers and streams and coastal estuaries of New England, as well as on the commercial fishing grounds in the Gulf of Maine.

Contact: Rodney Rountree
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Related biology news :

1. Mass Biologic Labs/UMass Med School and Medarex license C. difficile monoclonal antibody to Merck
2. UMass Medical School study points to genetic link in apnea of prematurity
3. UMASS Medical Schools human stem cell bank makes available first seven stem cell lines
4. UMass Amherst biologists use GPS to map bats teeth to explore evolutionary adaptations to diet
5. UMass med school professor wins coveted emerging-investigator award
6. UMass Amherst entomologists begin to control winter moth infestation in eastern Massachusetts
7. UMass researcher points to suppression of evidence on radiation effects by 1946 Nobel Laureate
8. UMass Amherst wins major grant to host $7.5 million Northeast Climate Science Center
9. Studies of small water fleas help ecologists understand population dynamics
10. Ecologists say metabolism accounts for why natural selection favors only some species
11. Ecologists use oceanographic data to predict future climate change
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
UMass Amherst ecologists among the first to record and study deep-sea fish noises
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
(Date:6/9/2016)...  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the ... employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. ... a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented ... branch project. This collaboration will result in greater ... the credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Liquid Biotech USA , Inc. ... Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ("PENN") ... patients.  The funding will be used to assess ... outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety of ... to support the design of a therapeutic, decision-making ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at ... most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the ... read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: