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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Long-term acoustic recorders (black instrument in figure) can be used to estimate spawning timelines and rhythms by detecting fish calls associated with courtship. Design by Tim Devine, USCB Graphics Manager

Monczak A, Berry A, Kehrer C, Montie EW


Long-term acoustic monitoring of fish calling provides baseline estimates of reproductive timelines in the May River estuary, southeastern USA

There is now clear evidence that climate change has affected the Earth’s ecosystems – one particular aspect being the timing of reproduction. In marine ecosystems, it can be challenging to determine exactly when fish reproduce. Listening to marine soundscapes may provide an alternative solution to traditional sampling methods since many fish rely on courtship calls. Monczak and colleagues capitalized on this passive acoustics technique to estimate the spawning seasons of a community of soniferous fish in an estuary in the southeastern USA. They estimated the start and end dates of the spawning season and calculated the total hours of chorusing for black drum, silver perch, oyster toadfish, spotted seatrout, and red drum. Fish calling followed specific seasonal, temperature, lunar, and daily patterns. Long-term analysis of the estuarine soundscape will use this baseline to investigate how climate variability affects spawning timelines.


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