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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 424 - Feature article
Dramatic ontogenetic improvements in hearing may enable fish larvae to find coral reefs for settlement.
Image: J M Leis

Wright KJ, Higgs DM, Leis JM


Ontogenetic and interspecific variation in hearing ability in marine fish larvae


Each adult fish was once a larva in the blue water beyond the reef. Reef-fish larvae must find a coral reef upon which to settle at the end of their larval phase, and it is thought hearing may play a role in this process. Wright and colleagues quantify for the first time the ontogeny of hearing ability in the larvae of marine fishes and compare hearing abilities among species and families. Hearing improves dramatically during larval development, and varies greatly among larvae of different species. Thus, larvae of different ages and taxa can hear reefs at varying distances, and this may differentially influence dispersal outcomes. This information is crucial for realistic modeling of larval dispersal.


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