Robot Records Fish Farts

I’m sorry. I really am. I try not to do puerile, sophomoric material too often. I do try to raise the tone of the joint as best I can. But, seriously… how can you NOT want to hear about a story that reads…

Robot Records Fish Farts!

You HAVE to look. It’s like driving by an accident. Even though you’ve been kvetching and complaining about the dozens of boneheads in front of you slowing down to gawk at the collision, when it’s your turn to drive by… you slow down and rubberneck just like everyone else.

(Fish Fart)

So… here goes!

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.

There.

I don’t know about you but I feel much better now that I got that one out of my system… as it were.

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