October 20, 2018

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Scientists say cod fish have regional accents

Scientists say cod fish have regional accents

You say potato and I say potahto. You say tomato and I say tomahto — potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto — and so do cod, kind of, according to British scientists who launched a study Wednesday into the regional accents of the cold-water fish species.

“Recordings of American cod are very different to those from their European cousins, so there is a precedent,” said Steve Simpson, a professor of marine biology at the University of Exeter, who is leading the research. “This species is highly vocal with traditional breeding grounds established over hundreds or even thousands of years, so the potential for regionalism is there.”

Simpson, who specializes in bioacoustics — sounds produced by living organisms — said previous underwater recordings of cod have shown they make different sounds in different regional spawning grounds just like birds, bears and other animals. “They have have quite a diverse range,” he said. Cod found in U.S. waters display a deep thumping sound while those taped in Norway have a higher-pitched sound, with a long growl. “These sounds are key for the cod because it is effectively the love song of the male trying to persuade the female to release her eggs. It carries a lot of information about who he is, what condition he is in and how big he is, and it’s only if he gets those things right that the female will decide to release her eggs,” Simpson said.

“These sounds are key for the cod because it is effectively the love song of the male trying to persuade the female to release her eggs. It carries a lot of information about who he is, what condition he is in and how big he is, and it’s only if he gets those things right that the female will decide to release her eggs,” Simpson said.  Read more 

 

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