Volume 72

Comparing the Diversity of the Soundscapes at Two Fish Spawning Aggregation Sites in Western Puerto Rico

Appeldoorn Sanders, E; C.M. Zayas Santiago; M.T. Schärer Umpierre; R.S. Appeldoorn; R.L. Hill
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 334-336

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Marine soundscapes are complex and include a variety of sounds from sources that can be classified as geophony, biophony and anthrophony. The occurrence and intensity of these different sounds may reflect environmental conditions, biodiversity and human use of critical habitats, such as aggregation sites where multiple species of groupers spawn. Passive acoustic monitoring has been ongoing at two fish spawning aggregation (FSA) sites off the west coast of Puerto Rico, documenting the presence of soniferous species such as red hind (Epinephelus guttatus), a commercially important grouper. Sound files collected at both FSA sites, recorded from December to March during the morning time period (6:00 to 11:00 am) in both 2016 and 2017 were analyzed to determine fine scale temporal patterns in the soundscape. Fish and whale sounds were classified as biophony, wind waves and swell sounds were classified as geophony while diver and vessel sounds were classified as anthropophony. The temporal patterns of the classes of sounds within the three levels were cross correlated to reveal detailed temporal patterns of use of the acoustic environment. Results revealed positive correlations between daily patterns of vessel noise and red hind calling activity at each site during a single spawning season. This is a first step to be able to determine the applicability of passive acoustic monitoring to identify sources of sounds that could threaten the effectiveness of FSA sites where communication between spawning fishes is an important part of their reproductive behavior.

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