What's that sound?

Added on 2024-01-09 12:22:56 by Dekeyzer, Stefanie
A Global Inventory of Sound Production Brings Us One Step Closer to Understanding Aquatic Ecosystems.
Our understanding of which aquatic species produce sounds just took a big step forward. A Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds working group has collaborated with the World Register of Marine Species to create an inventory of species confirmed or expected to produce sound underwater. This effort documented 729 aquatic mammals, other tetrapods, fishes, and invertebrates that produce active or passive sounds, with another 21,911 species deemed likely to produce sounds. Most importantly, this information has been uploaded to the World Register of Marine Species to ensure that it is freely available to those interested in biology, conservation, and the mysteries of the underwater world.

A conceptual diagram of the data collection methods used to create a dataset of species categorized by known sonifery (i.e., sound production), published as part of Looby et al. 2023.

The Publication and Research Team
The research ‘Global Inventory of Species Categorized by Known Underwater Sonifery”, can be read in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Data. This research was a collaborative effort involving 19 authors from 6 countries. This work was led by Audrey Looby, who also co-created FishSounds, with the research team including Christine Erbe, Santiago Bravo, Kieran Cox, Hailey Davies, Lucia Di Iorio, Youenn Jézéquel, Francis Juanes, Charles Martin, Aran Mooney, Craig Radford, Laura Reynolds, Aaron Rice, Amalis Riera, Rodney Rountree, Brittnie Spriel, Jenni Stanley, Sarah Vela, and Miles Parsons. 

Author Quotes
“This compilation of known sound production relied on an international team of bioacousticians, the enthusiastic support of the World Register of Marine Species data management team, funding from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, many other folks and institutions, and—above all—centuries of scientific effort documenting underwater sound production worldwide.” -Audrey Looby

“Understanding how marine species interact with their environments is of global importance, and this data being freely available on the World Register of Marine Species is a major step towards that goal” -Kieran Cox

“When we started gathering data on all the exciting ways that fish make noise we never dreamed that we'd soon be contributing to the premier authority on marine species. This project has quickly become a perfect example of how collaboration elevates research.” -The FishSounds Team

“Over 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water, implying that most habitats on earth are aquatic. Yet there has been a pervasive misconception that most aquatic organisms are silent. Now for the first time, we have a comprehensive digital database on what animals are currently known to make sounds. That is a game changer and is revolutionizing marine and aquatic science.” -Rodney Rountree

“FishSounds has been a major focus of our lab, and we hope that contributing this data to the World Register of Marine Species will further highlight the novel work that the bioacoustic community has been doing for decades.” -Francis Juanes 

“Many people are familiar with whale or dolphin sounds but are often surprised to learn that many fishes and invertebrates use sounds to communicate, too! Our dataset helps demonstrate how widespread underwater sound production really is across a wide variety of animals, but also that we still have a lot to learn.” -Audrey Looby

Media Package
A kit containing photos, audio, and videos is available on Google Drive

Relevant Links
Publication Link
FishSounds Twitter
GLUBS Twitter
Data in WoRMS

Media contacts:
Kieran Cox (Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria) at 778-977-0142 or
Francis Juanes (University of Victoria) at 250-721-6227 or
Audrey Looby (University of Florida) 1 908-642-1151 or
Rodney Rountree (The Fish Listener and University of Victoria) at 508-566-6586 or

This media release was launched by the University of Florida on December 18th 2023.
Original news item on


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