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Please help support my research on fish sounds. A NON-Tax deductable contribution will be used to support purchase of equipment, software, travel, and publication of research.

Studies on Soniferous Fishes

Do fish make sounds? What do they sound like? Why do they make sounds? The answer to the first question is YES! In fact, over 150 species on the East Coast of the U.S. can vocalize. And that's likely to be a vast underestimate, because few scientists have attempted to study fish sounds in our temperate coastal waters. Worldwide an estimated 800 species produce biological sounds; again a vast underestimate. The answer to the second question can be found throughout my web page where your can download and listen to a number of fish sounds, both from known and unknown sources. The study of soniferous fish behavior (soniferous just means sound producing) and the applications of passive acoustics technology to fisheries and to the exploration of the sea is one of my major new research interests. Passive Acoustics is the science of simply listing to underwater sounds and used non-invasive technologies such as a simple hydrophone (or underwater microphone), as opposed to "Active Acoustics" that uses sound signals generated by machines to obtain biological/environmental information. On this web page you can find brief summaries of some of my current passive acoustics research projects. Those interested in more detailed information can download published papers and reports from my CV page. My research has frequently been reported in the public news media, including hundreds of blogs, Discover Magazine, The New York Times, Scientific America Podcast, Science News for Kids, etc. Go to my CV page for a partial list of media reports.

The Fish Listener Blog

Table of contents Click on the image and/or highlights to learn more.

    Fish Sounds of the Amazon

    Fish Sounds of the Amazon River Help fund my research project on fish sounds of the Amazon River! I am experimenting with crowdfunding through the SciFund Challenge Program in hopes of obtaining funds to enhance my research. I will be going to Peru with an Operation Wallacea expedition for four weeks this summer to record fish sounds. Funds obtained through the crowdfunding campaign will provide additional recording equipment and software for volunteer students. The campagn will be ongoing just through May, so take a look! Thanks!

    WGBY Connecting Point Interview

    WGBY in Springfield, MA will air an interview with Rodney Rountree on fish sounds including a discussion of the deep sea fish sounds work funded by MIT Sea Grant. The segment will air Next Tuesday (May 8th) on the PBS news magazine show Connecting Point hosted by Carrie Saldo. Go to WGBY's "Connecting Point" or Watch the interview

    Deep Sea Sound sampling

    Do deep sea fish make sounds?. My colleagues and I have begun studies to find out if deep sea fishes are sound producers as hypothesized more than 60 years ago by N.B. Marshall.

    Hudson River Sound sampling

    Underwater sounds of the Hudson River at The River Project site in NYC (river mile 2), and at the Tivoli Bay NERR cite (mile 95). Pilot study of the soniferous fishes of the Hudson River conducted by then undergraduate student Katie Anderson, under supervision of myself and Francis Juanes of UMASS Amherst. During this pilot study we were amazed at the high occurrence of unknown fish sounds. We have posted many examples on our page. Note, Katie recently published here finding in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (see my CV for the full reference). Click here to go to Katie's web page (some pictures take time to load).

    Fish sounds of Connecticutt River

    First survey of underwater sounds in the major river systems of New England. I have recently been funded to conduct an initial pilot study to survey the underwater soundscape of four major river systems in New England for the first time.

    Haddock on Stellwagen Bank

    Sounds of haddock and other fish on the fishing grounds of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and Jeffries Ledge in the Gulf of Maine. This is part of a collaborative study with commercial fishermen to record fish spawning sounds. So far we have positively identified haddock. Now we are working to quantify the daily pattern of haddock vocal activity through a new Sea Grant funded project.

    Rodney Rountree with ISIS

    Soniferous fishes on Stellwagen Bank. This page describes our pilot study of the Soniferous fishes of Stellwagen Bank funded by the NE-NURC Program. We were suprised by the low occurrence of fish sounds, but did make the first recordings of cusk (Brosme brosme, not related to the cusk-eel at all) in North American waters.

    Gilligans Island

    Underwater sounds from Gilligan's Island! While on a short trip to Hawaii I had the chance to play around on Gilligan's Island. I provide a brief summary of my exploratory sampling as an example of how one might begin a low budget pilot project in a new area. Along the way, I made the first known recording of the underwater sounds of the marine toad Bufo marinus.

    Ophidion marginatum

    Striped cusk-eel, Ophidion marginatum. I am currently conducting field studies of the soniferous behavior and reproductive ecology of the striped cusk-eel, Ophidion marginatum, to complement a laboratory study made by myself and Jeanette Bowers-Altman some time ago.  Recently I have recorded cusk-eels in Cape Cod and New Bedford Harbors in MA. NEW!! I have redigitized some cuskeel movie clips.

    Prionotus evolans

    Miscellaneous field studies This page describes on going pilot field studies of soniferous fishes in various localities, including New Jersey, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Narragansett Sound, RI, and Florida (see also, links under Stellwagen Bank and cusk-eel studies)

    My Fish Sound Gallaries.

      Fish, Mowbray and Perkins Sounds of NW Atlantic Fishes This section includes samples from the historic archives of Marie Fish and William Moubray (see my ebook for background information). I am keenly interested in facilitating collaborations to rescue and archive for wide distribution historical sound recordings of marine fishes and invertebrates. Towards this end I have collaborated with a network of scientists to establish a National Archive of Fish Sounds in the Library of Natural Sounds at Cornell University. This work also involves on going efforts to rescue historical data on fish sounds. Besides summarizing these efforts, this page provides sound clips for 17 fish species. My colleagues and I have produced a CD containing the sounds of 153 fishes as originally published by Fish and Mowbray in their landmark book "Sounds of Western North Atlantic Fishes: A Reference File of Underwater Biological Sounds" published in 1970. It also includes my inventory of sounds from the Fish and Moubray archive now housed at Cornell. Click on the following link to learn more about this archive and listen to some fish sound samples Sounds of NW Atlantic Fishes
      Fish Sound Gallery My Fish Sounds Gallery This page includes shortcuts to some of my recordings of fish sounds, other sounds can be found on the pages describing the various projects. NOTE that many of these sounds are very quiet and you will need to use headphones to hear them. You may also need to amplify the sounds in some cases. My gallery of underwater sounds.
      Download ringtones of fish sounds Fish Songs Ringtones. Want a really cool ringtone for your cell? Go to my ringtone page and download free ringtones of fish fart and other fish sounds. Over 25,000 downloads to date! Updated November 2014 with many new ringtones after the MYXER ringtone host site went down. Now download directly from my web page!

    Links to reports and other web pages on Passive acoustic and underwater sound

      Links to other passive acoustic and fish sound web pages I've set up a links page to fish passive acoustics research sites of other researchers. I also include web pages with galleries of fish sounds and some on general bioacoustics and whale acoustics. Links to hydrophone and acoustic software companies are also included.

      Passive acoustics workshop Workshop on passive acoustic applications to fisheries.

      Listening to Fish Book Cover

      Listening to Fish: New Discoveries in Science. Do fish make sounds? What do they sound like? Why do they make sounds? These questions are answered in my free multimedia e-book which can be downloaded here. Writen in 2005, the book describes passive acoustics and its applications to fisheries and the exploration of the seas. The book is suitable for kids grades 5-12, but has been popular with college students and researchers around the world. It includes audio and video clips of fish sounds and fish behavior. A glossery is included with definitions of words highlighted in bold text. To use the book, first download it to your computer and then open with any pdf reader like acrobat. The pdf document includes webpage links to sounds and video which will play if you are connected to the internet. Some links may not work if the pdf opens in your browser, so its better to save it to your pc.

      Future of passive acoustics research.

      Outline of some of the uses of passive acoustics in fisheries science and marine and aquatic ecology, including monitoring of fish/invertebrate calling activity as a tool for the study of temporal and spatial habitat use patterns. Potential of passive acoustic fish monitoring techniques for the study of inter- and intra-specific behavioral interactions among marine fishes and invertebrates. I'm also excited about the potential for collaborations to develop regional inshore and offshore fish "Listening Posts" that can be accessed via the internet by scientists and the general public. I believe these applications will become an important tool for the census of marine life in estuarine, coastal and open marine ecosystems, as well as in freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Click on the links below to find out more:

      Potential applications of passive acoustics to fisheries and aquatic ecology

      Funding and research priorities for passive applications to fisheries"

      International Workshop on passive acoustics applications to fisheries (

      Rountree, R.A., R.G. Gilmore, C.A. Goudey, A.D. Hawkins, J. Luczkovich, and D. Mann. 2006. Listening to Fish: applications of passive acoustics to fisheries science. Fisheries 31(9):433-446. download pdf file

      Rountree, R.A., C. Goudey, T. Hawkins, J. Luczkovich and D. Mann. 2003. Listening to Fish: Passive Acoustic Applications in Marine Fisheries. Sea Grant Digital Oceans. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program. MITSG 0301. 36 p. Available as pdf online

      Rountree, R.A., C. Goudey, and T. Hawkins. Editors. 2003. Listening to Fish: Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Applications of Passive Acoustics to Fisheries. April 8-10, 2002. Dedham, MA. MIT Sea Grant Technical Report MITSG 03-2. Available as pdf

      Rountree, R.A., P.J. Perkins, R.D. Kenney, and K.R. Hinga. 2002. Sounds of Western North Atlantic Fishes: Data rescue. Bioacoustics 12(2/3):242-244.

      Listening to Fish: New Discoveries in Science Available as a pdf file.

      Go to my curriculum vitae page for links to other passive acoustic publications and seminars.


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    Please help support my research on fish sounds. A NON-Tax deductable contribution will be used to support purchase of equipment, software, travel, and publication of research.

    Copyright © 1999, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Rodney Rountree. All rights reserved

    Navigate toolbar: [ Fish Diets | My Photos | Estuarine Research | FADs | Soniferous Fish | My CV | My Youtube | Children's Stories | Fish Facts | My Writings | Home Page ]