Soundscapes from a Tropical Eastern Pacific reef and a Caribbean Sea reef
Underwater soundscapes vary due to the abiotic and biological components of the habitat. We quantitatively characterized the acoustic environments of two coral reef habitats, one in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (Panama) and one in the Caribbean (Florida Keys), over 2-day recording durations in July 2011. We examined the frequency distribution, temporal variability, and biological patterns of sound production and found clear differences. The Pacific reef exhibited clear biological patterns and high temporal variability, such as the onset of snapping shrimp noise at night, as well as a 400-Hz daytime band likely produced by damselfish. In contrast, the Caribbean reef had high sound levels in the lowest frequencies, but lacked clear temporal patterns. We suggest that acoustic measures are an important element to include in reef monitoring programs, as the acoustic environment plays an important role in the ecology of reef organisms at multiple life-history stages.
KeywordsAcoustic ecology Coral reef Tropical Eastern Pacific Caribbean Damselfish Passive acoustic monitoring
We thank Maya deVries and Evan D’Alessandro for help in the field, Tom Snowden for help with a recording system, and Peter W. Glynn for valuable information about the study site in Panama. Funding was provided through a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to E. Staaterman and by the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to the Paris Laboratory.
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