Sonata for Teleosts: fish sounds as proxies to learn about the diversity of species
Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) involves the use of hydrophones to record all the components of underwater soundscapes, including fish calls. Several studies used PAM to investigate different aspects of vocal fish populations, such as presence, distribution, relative abundance, diel, lunar and seasonal cycle of activity as well as for delimitating spawning areas and for studying wild fish spawning behaviour. Despite this, most studies to date have considered fish species in isolation, and there is a general paucity of data addressing acoustic communication of fishes living in natural communities. In particular, little is known about how different fish species share the same acoustic space and how con-specific fish are able to communicate without misinterpreting the message. The aims of my PostDoc project are to: (i) produce a list of calling species found in different Mediterranean environments; (ii) investigate their calling periods and the extent of the spectral and temporal partition of their acoustic space. In particular, I aim to carry out PAM in different epipelagic environments of the Mediterranean Sea. Acoustic data will be analysed in order to identify the known calling species and to categorise the unknown on the basis of fine sounds features. I also aim to investigate where and when each calling species is most vocal, in a community perspective. Finally, recordings in semi-natural, controlled condition will be carried out in order to validate the identity of the unknown calling species recorded in the wild. The output of this project will consist in a catalogue of calling fish found in different epipelagic environments of the Mediterranean Sea. This project represents a step forward the implementation of PAM for the simultaneous monitoring of several fish populations on the community level.