Temporal variation and characterization of grunt sounds produced by Atlantic cod Gadus morhua and pollack Pollachius pollachius during the spawning season

L. J. Wilson, M. T. Burrows, G. D. Hastie, B. Wilson

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Fine-scale temporal patterning in grunt production and variation in grunt attributes in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua and pollack Pollachius pollachius was examined. Pollachius pollachius produced only a single sound type, the grunt, similar to that previously described for G. morhua. Sound production and egg production were correlated in P. pollachius but not in G. morhua. Only G. morhua displayed a strongly cyclical pattern, producing more grunts at night. Finer-scale temporal patterning in grunt production was observed in both species which produced significantly fewer grunts following a period of high grunt production. These quieter periods lasted up to 45 min for P. pollachius and up to 1 h in G. morhua. Grunts were not always produced in isolation but organized into bouts in both species. Longer bouts were more frequent during periods of increased sound activity and were linked with changes in grunt characteristics including increased grunt duration, pulse duration and repetition period of each pulse combined with decreased dominant frequency. This study provides the first evidence of acoustic signalling being used by spawning P. pollachius and presents the most detailed analysis of the complexity of gadoid sound production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1030
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2014


  • gadoid
  • acoustic communication
  • mate choice
  • acoustic signal
  • sound production

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