Quirks & Quarks

Spying scientists listen in on fish conversations

Listening in on fish talking could help in conservation.
Salmon are completing a several hundred kilometre journey from the Pacific Ocean to spawn. (The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

Summer time for many scientists usually means one thing: field season. They get out from the close quarters and fluorescent lights of the lab and the drudgery of the classroom. That's definitely the case for Ph.D student in the Juanes Lab in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, Xavier Mouy. He's also an an acoustician at JASCO Applied Sciences.

Ph.D student Xavier Mouy and Jordan Wilson from the NGO Pacific Wild listen in on fish communicating in the Strait of Georgia. (Pacific Wild)

Mr. Mouy is spending his summer in the Strait of Georgia along the coast of lower mainland British Columbia, deploying underwater microphones at listening stations. He is collecting sounds that fish make. Yes, fish communicate by using sounds, occasionally fart sounds.​