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A quantitative inventory of global soniferous fish diversity

Abstract

Sound production in fishes is vital to an array of behaviors including territorial defense, reproduction, and competitive feeding. Unfortunately, recent passive acoustic monitoring efforts are revealing the extent to which anthropogenic forces are altering aquatic soundscapes. Despite the importance of fish sounds, extensive endeavors to document them, and the anthropogenic threats they face, the field of fish bioacoustics has been historically constrained by the lack of an easily accessible and comprehensive inventory of known soniferous fishes, as is available for other taxa. To create such an inventory while simultaneously assessing the geographic and taxonomic prevalence of soniferous fish diversity, we extracted information from 834 references from the years 1874–2020 to determine that 989 fish species from 133 families and 33 orders have been shown to produce active (i.e., intentional) sounds. Active fish sound production is geographically and taxonomically widespread—though not homogenous—among fishes, contributing a cacophony of biological sounds to the prevailing soundscape globally. Our inventory supports previous findings on the prevalence of actively soniferous fishes, while allowing novel species-level assessments of their distribution among regions and taxa. Furthermore, we evaluate commercial and management applications with passive acoustic monitoring, highlight the underrepresentation of research on passive (i.e., incidental) fish sounds in the literature, and quantify the limitations of current methodologies employed to examine fishes for sound production. Collectively, our review expands on previous studies while providing the foundation needed to examine the 96% of fish species that still lack published examinations of sound production.

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Acknowledgements

Thank you to the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries for their InterLibrary Loan system to locate references as well as the libraries’ staff, especially Michelle Leonard, Joe Aufmuth, and Suzanne Stapleton for their expert advice on review methods. Thank you to Dr. Carrie Reinhardt Adams for providing guidance. Thank you to Michael L. Fine, Timothy C. Tricas, and anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback on the manuscript. Thank you also to the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship for funding undergraduate assistance in this review.

Funding

Mitacs Globalink Research Internship funded undergraduate assistance in this review.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Audrey Looby and Kieran Cox conceptualized the review. All authors contributed to the review design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Audrey Looby. Francis Juanes acquired funding for undergraduate assistance in data collection verification, study design, and manuscript editing carried out by Santiago Bravo. Charles W. Martin and Laura K. Reynolds supervised Audrey Looby in completing the study. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Audrey Looby and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Audrey Looby.

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Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare that are relevant to the content of this article.

Availability of data and material

All data collected as part of the review are included in Supplemental Information 2. All other datasets used are available from FishBase (http://www.fishbase.org) or in the R package rfishbase (https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03464.x). All data collected, the methodology, and other datasets used are also stored in a permanent data repository on Scholars Portal Dataverse (https://doi.org/10.5683/SP2/TACOUX) and on the FishSounds website (https://fishsounds.net/).

Code availability

The R code used in the data analysis is available from the corresponding author upon request.

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Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Additional information about the systematized review methods and data analyses (PDF 122 kb)

11160_2022_9702_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx

The complete list of fish species examined for sound production, their associated references, and the sound production and examination categorizations compiled in the systematized review. Taxonomic information for each fish species was retrieved from rfishbase (Boettiger et al. 2012). In the Data tab, in columns I through T, a “0” indicates no or false and a “1” indicates yes or true as determined in the systematized review (XLSX 459 kb)

11160_2022_9702_MOESM3_ESM.pdf

Table 3: The number of documented actively soniferous fish species, the percentage of documented actively soniferous species out of the total number of species, and the percentage of documented actively soniferous species out of the number of species examined native to each fishing area designated by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as reported in rfishbase (Boettiger et al. 2012). Species may be listed in multiple fishing areas. FAO fishing areas are listed in alphabetical order. Table 4: The number of fish species examined for sound production, the number of documented actively soniferous species, the number of species in each family, the percentage of documented actively soniferous species out of the number of species examined, and the percentage of documented actively soniferous species out of the total number of species in each family for the 169 fish families with at least one species examined in the review. Taxonomic information was retrieved from rfishbase (Boettiger et al. 2012). Families are listed in alphabetical order. Table 5: The number of documented actively soniferous fish species, the percentage of documented actively soniferous species out of the total number of species, and the percentage of documented actively soniferous species out of the number of species examined for each commercial importance, price, and used for aquaculture category as reported in rfishbase (Boettiger et al. 2012) (PDF 147 kb)

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Looby, A., Cox, K., Bravo, S. et al. A quantitative inventory of global soniferous fish diversity. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 32, 581–595 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-022-09702-1

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Keywords

  • Acoustic communication
  • Behavior
  • Bioacoustics
  • Passive acoustics
  • Soundscape ecology
  • Systematized review