A sound worth saving: acoustic characteristics of a massive fish spawning aggregation

TitleA sound worth saving: acoustic characteristics of a massive fish spawning aggregation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsErisman B.E, Rowell T.J
JournalBiology Letters
Date Published2017/12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1744-9561
Accession NumberWOS:000418695400013
Keywordsbehavior; bioacoustics; conservation; drum pogonias-cromis; fish chorus; level; marine; ocean; passive acoustics; soundscapes; spawning aggregations

Group choruses of marine animals can produce extraordinarily loud sounds that markedly elevate levels of the ambient soundscape. We investigated sound production in the Gulf corvina (Cynoscion othonopterus), a soniferous marine fish with a unique reproductive behaviour threatened by overfishing, to compare with sounds produced by other marine animals. We coupled echosounder and hydrophone surveys to estimate the magnitude of the aggregation and sounds produced during spawning. We characterized individual calls and documented changes in the soundscape generated by the presence of as many as 1.5 million corvina within a spawning aggregation spanning distances up to 27 km. We show that calls by male corvina represent the loudest sounds recorded in a marine fish, and the spatio-temporal magnitude of their collective choruses are among the loudest animal sounds recorded in aquatic environments. While this wildlife spectacle is at great risk of disappearing due to overfishing, regional conservation efforts are focused on other endangered marine animals.

Short TitleBiol. Lett.
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