Scientist record a rare underwater fish choir

Fish choir
©iStock/animatedfunk/South_agency

For the first time ever, at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, researchers have recorded the sounds of fish communicating using audible sounds.

The recordings ranged from a chorus of chatting clown fish to the growl of trigger fish. The Blue Planet II scientist and world leading bioacoustics expert, Professor Steve Simpson, from the University of Exeter, reveal the hidden underwater choir.

Researchers recorded the communications using specialist underwater recording equipment at the aquarium on London’s South Bank. Such noises included clicks, croaks, growls and hooting noises from a wide range of fish species.

Scientists highlight the importance of sound for fish communications, habitat selection and environmental exploration. However, this is the first scientist have ever recorded fish singing to one and other.

James Wright, Displays Curator at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, said: “Sound plays an important role in the health of our oceans and we were curious to find out how the diverse fish species at London Aquarium use language to communicate with one another or at the very least find a fish that had a vocal range like Mariah Carey in time for Christmas.

“The fish sounds captured are incredible! No-one expected to hear a school of clownfish croak or a crayfish hoot like a trumpet – it’s truly amazing. Thanks to Professor Simpson and Abbey Road Studios we can now listen to our fish for the very first time and teach our guests just how important sound is to the ocean.”

Professor Simpson said: “It was really exciting to step behind the scenes of the famous London Aquarium to capture the hidden soundscape of life within its exhibits. What we discovered is truly fascinating and highlights how fish are using sound to communicate to one another in an aquarium environment just like in more natural habitats.

“I’m passionate about understanding how fish communicate and interact with their environment. There are many reasons fish make noise, including defending territories, warning against predators and during courtship. The more we listen the more we discover and I’m really happy to be working with SEA LIFE London Aquarium and Abbey Road Studios to educate more people about these amazing underwater soundscapes.”

Andrew Walker, sound engineer at Abbey Road Studios, said: “I never imagined having spent 30 years mastering music at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios that I would be remastering the hidden orchestra of fish sounds into a festive Jingle Bells track.”

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