Nocturnal patterns in fish chorusing off the coasts of Georgia and eastern Florida

Published on Apr 1, 2017in Bulletin of Marine Science1.742
· DOI :10.5343/bms.2016.1043
Aaron N. Rice18
Estimated H-index: 18
Melissa S. Soldevilla11
Estimated H-index: 11
John A Quinlan2
Estimated H-index: 2
Fish chorusing is a major component of the marine acoustic environment, and much of this chorusing activity happens at night. These nocturnal sounds are commonly associated with reproductive behavior. For many co-occurring taxa, increases in vocal activity may intensify acoustic competition within a constrained signaling environment; for nocturnal species, there is a limited time window for these critical behaviors, and competition to be heard by conspecifics likely increases. Using passive acoustic recording units deployed in the nearshore waters off Georgia and eastern Florida, we evaluated the nocturnal acoustic habits of fishes and examined how the sounds from nocturnal fish chorusing contribute to the overall soundscape. We examined long-term spectrograms for spatial and temporal patterns of fish calling. Black drum [Pogonias cromis (Linnaeus, 1766)] and toadfish (Opsanus sp.) dominated the nocturnal acoustic scene, but calls of other identified [e.g., red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus (Linnaeus, 1766); silver perch, Bairdiella chrysoura (Lacepede, 1802)] and unidentified calling species also occur. We examined the acoustic indices of entropy, acoustic diversity, and acoustic complexity to compare nocturnal and diurnal fish calling activity across the region. When sustained fish chorusing activity increases, entropy and acoustic diversity decrease, but acoustic complexity increases. With the acoustic differences in composition of nocturnally- and diurnally-active species groups, there is a different nocturnal soundscape than during the day. Passive acoustic surveys represent an exciting approach to understand the nocturnal reproductive activity of coastal fishes.
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