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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Robot Records Fish Farts
26 March 2012 6:19 pm
Researchers hoping to better understand fish distributions by recording the sounds they make have picked up something unusual: barely-audible, cricket-like noises they think could be nighttime fish farts. The team programmed a torpedo-shaped robot called a glider to head out to sea from Tampa Bay and back, running up and down the water column in a saw-tooth pattern, sampling ocean sounds for 25 seconds every 5 minutes. The glider also recorded location data and measured seawater temperature, salinity, and depth over the course of 1 week. By comparing the grunts and whistles on their recordings to known fish calls, University of South Florida researchers found red grouper (shown, Epinephelus morio) and toadfishes (Opsanus spp.) were the most frequent fish sounds recorded, the team reports this month in Marine Ecology Progress Series. These fish produced sounds throughout the day and night, mostly deeper than 40 meters. The probable farts were recorded shallower than 40 meters, and were most likely a group of fish, including menhaden and herring, releasing gas from an internal buoyancy organ called a swim bladder. By mapping these sounds, the researchers hope to get a better picture of species distributions and likely spawning areas—important information for management and conservation efforts.
See more ScienceShots.