It is well-known that dolphins, whales and other marine mammals use sound to communicate underwater, but acoustic communication among smaller animals is more difficult to hear and has not been well studied by scientists.

The new research supports the idea that many ocean-dwelling animals could be communicating by listening to and responding to environmental sounds, said one of the researchers Simone Baumann-Pickering, assistant research biologist at University of California in San Diego, US.

The team used sensitive acoustic instruments to record the low-frequency hum the animals emit as they move up to the surface to feed at dusk, and back down to deeper waters at dawn.
The communal sound is three to six decibels louder than the background noise of the ocean, making it difficult for the human ear to distinguish, but it could provide scientists with a new way to study these organisms and give them new insights into this ecosystem, she said.

The findings will be presented on Monday at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting to be held in New Orleans, US from February 21-26.


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