The Marine Sensory Biology laboratory focuses on hearing and sound production in marine animals. We study organisms ranging from lobsters and fishes to sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins. Our goal is to understand how organisms use sound in the natural environment and the constraints the environment poses on communication.
A hydrophone was used to monitor fish sound production on the LEO-15 Ocean Observatory off the coast of New Jersey. This spectrogram shows sound production by cusk eels and croakers (in the sciaenid family). Cusk eels produce a higher frequency sound than croakers and also have two peaks in sound production, one at night and one just before dawn. Both species decreased levels of sound production in response to an upwelling of cold water on Aug 23.
Mann, D.A., Grothues, T.M. (2009) Short-term upwelling events modulate fish sound production at a mid-Atlantic ocean observatory. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 375: 65-71.
Most marine fishes have planktonic eggs and larvae that could travel far from the adult habitat into deep water. Recent research has shown that larval fish are not simply passive drifters, but capable of directed and extended swimming. There are intriguing data showing that larval fish can be attracted to speakers broadcasting sound. In this critical review we lay out a research plan to answer this question. This plan involves a combination of field studies on larval behavior and sound fields and laboratory studies of the ability of larval fishes to detect sounds.