Researchers Develop Automated Method to Identify Fish Calls Underwater

An Oregon State University research team and collaborators have developed an automated method that can accurately identify calls from a family of fishes.

The method takes advantage of data collected by underwater microphones known as hydrophones and provides an efficient and inexpensive way to understand changes in the marine environment due to climate change and other human-caused influences, said researchers from Oregon State’s Cooperative Institute for Marine Ecosystem and Resource Studies.

The findings were published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Hydrophones are increasingly being deployed in the world’s oceans. They offer advantages over other types of monitoring because they work at night, in low-visibility conditions and over long periods of time. But techniques to efficiently analyze data from hydrophones are not well developed.

This new research led by Jill Munger when she was an undergraduate student, begins to change that. Munger came to Oregon State having worked more than 20 years in the corporate world.

An avid scuba diver, she wanted to study the ocean. She received a fellowship from CIMERS to research underwater acoustics with Joe Haxel, who at the time was at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab’s acoustic program.