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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Rebreather divers record sounds produced by coral reef fish during resource defense, reproduction, predator avoidance and feeding for acoustic monitoring of population activities. Images: Timothy C. Tricas and Kelly S. Boyle

Tricas TC, Boyle KS


Acoustic behaviors in Hawaiian coral reef fish communities


Acoustic monitoring of fish sounds can be used to infer reproductive activity and changes in abundance of fish populations, but the sounds made by the diversity of fish species on coral reefs are poorly known. We used rebreather and digital acoustic/video techniques to produce a sound library for 45 fish species on Hawai’i coral reefs. Resident species produce sounds when engaged in social interactions, resource defense, spawning, nest defense, feeding and vigilance behaviors. Distinct adventitious feeding sounds are produced by some parrotfish and triggerfish and may be useful indicators of feeding activity or rates of reef bioerosion. This is the first study to characterize the species-specific-behavior soundscape that can be applied to acoustic monitoring of a coral reef fish community.


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