Frontlines | Golden Oldies-Piscine Style
Erica P. Johnson
It's not Mozart or Elvis that does so, but a cacophony of noises, resembling those that emanate from a reef, that makes the embryo of a clown fish heart's throb for a home. After birth, the ant-sized juveniles swim away, but eventually they return to a reef to live.
In trying to determine how these flashy reef fish do so, marine biologist Stephen Simpson, University of York, investigated sound as a possible cue. He and colleague Hong Yang, University of Kentucky, played noises of different frequencies and volumes to fish embryo in a soundproof chamber, and observed them under the microscope. When the sounds were "just right," meaning they matched the pops, bangs, whoops, and crackles emanating from a coral reef, the embryos' heart rate increased.
The researchers confirmed the possibility of acoustical memory on Australia's Lizard Island by creating silent and...