Poster Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Spatial distribution of Australian marine fish choruses (#480)

Lauren Hawkins 1 , Christine Erbe 1 , Benjamin Saunders 2 , Iain Parnum 1 , Robert McCauley 1
  1. Centre for Marine Science & Technology, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia
  2. School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia

Fishes are significant contributors to marine soundscapes, producing sounds to communicate in association with life functions including, breeding, feeding, and aggregating. Fish produce calls through the oscillation of their swim bladders using specialised sonic muscles or by the stridulation of bony body parts. A fish chorus is produced when many individuals vocalise together, raising background noise levels in a characteristic frequency band by at least three decibels, for approximately one hour or longer. Fish choruses have been recorded in a variety of Australian marine habitats; however, knowledge of where and when Australian fish choruses occur is still limited. This study uses passive acoustic monitoring to identify the spatial distribution of fish choruses recorded in Australian marine waters. Long-term acoustic recordings from 24 locations were analysed using the CHaracterisation Of Underwater Recorded Sound (CHORUS) MATLAB toolbox to identify the presence/absence of fish choruses at each recording site. 107 individual fish choruses were detected in total, with high chorus diversity exhibited at some sites. Future research will attempt to identify the environmental drivers of fish chorus diversity. This will provide insight into large-scale ecological processes occurring in Australian marine waters and may contribute to the identification of areas of ecological significance.