In many fish species, group formation has been shown as important behavioural strategy to increasing the individual fitness. Previous work of Fischer & Hofmann (2004) as well as Fischer & Reyjol (2006) clearly demonstrated, that group formation especially in nocturnal benthic fish species significantly increase foraging efficiency, reduces predation risk and finally may lead to a significant increase in somatic growth.
Such a performance enhancement implies, that group members do exchange information among conspecifics, leading to an individual advantage compared to solitaire living fish. Besides optical and chemical communication, it is well known that many fish, i.e. cod species but also many others (in total > 1000 species) do communicate on an acoustic basis (Rountree 2003).
So far known reasons for sound production in fish are:
- Aggression (to defend resources against conspecifics or other species)
- Spawning activity (courtship behaviour)
- Foraging (to enhance intraspecific foraging success)
- Schoaling and group adherence (to reduce predation risk)
- Warning signals (intraspecific communication)
In this project our group together with the University of Applied Science (Prof. Dr. Steffen Reith) perform lab experiments on diel patterns of acoustic communication in fish using the sea robin (Trigla lucerna) as model organism for acoustic active fish.
Publications: see publication list of AWI Centre for Scientific Diving.