DOI: 10.1121/10.0020829 ISSN:

Hearing diversity in 34 000 fish species: A personal perspective

Arthur N. Popper
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

I have been studying fish hearing since 1966. Over that time, my interests have evolved from basic mechanisms of hearing to “translational fish bioacoustics” where I help apply basic science to the protection of fishes from potential harm arising from anthropogenic sources. Yet, I am still most interested in basic science questions. Thus, this paper focuses on basic questions on fish hearing and shares my personal view of some of the interesting and important questions I think need to be asked about fish hearing by future investigators. Accordingly, I am not focusing on what has been learned, but, rather, I focus on the questions raised by what we have learned. Moreover, my focus is comparative—there are more than 34 000 extant fish species—and we know little about hearing in any one species. Indeed, most of our knowledge comes from about 100 species! Therefore, considering the immense importance of fishes, it is my contention that we need to know a great deal more about the sense that gives fishes rapid and highly directional information, often at a great distance, about the world around them.

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