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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Reef Chorus Lines

Reef Chorus Lines

Batfish (credit: NOAA & USGS)

If you thought humpback whales were the only ocean inhabitants that liked to sing together, think again. Colorful batfish and other reef species have been recorded singing like an orchestra's choral group. Using underwater hydrophones, fish have been recorded vocalizing at specific times of day.

According to researchers from Western Australia's Curtin University, most of the music comes from solo batfish repeating their calls over and over again. However, when the calls of different fish overlap they form a chorus. In all, seven distinct chorus lines were recorded by the WA marine biologists of the batfish and other reef species. Their underwater research was conducted near Port Hedland on the Indian Ocean and was cataloged by the acoustic characteristics and patterns made at specific locations and time of day.

The recorded sounds will be used to develop long-term fishery and reef ecosystem monitoring. The vocal tapes could even have utility in attracting fish back to reefs lacking their native denizens by restoring the missing sound-scape. You can read the acoustics report here and listen to the diversity of marine chorus lines as well. WHB

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