Jana Winderen writes...

April 23, 2009

Presenting an essay written by Jana Winderen, in support of her Ash International cassette, The Noisiest Guys on the Planet, “an ongoing investigation into the use and production of sound by decapods”.

Jana Winderen writes:

“An ongoing investigation into the use and production of sound by decapods...

When a recording is made underwater, you will definitely hear the crackling noise of what might be a creature from the order of Decapods.

When recording on the coast of Norway, for example, this sound is what you are very likely to hear as soon as the ferries and motorboats have parked for the night. They seem to be everywhere, whoever it is making this sound. When you go for a swim and listen underwater you can even hear them. But who are they?

The pistol shrimp, or snapping shrimp, make this kind of sound, but they are not found in waters as far north as the Norwegian coast. In Thailand the same sounds can be heard in the freshwater River Ping.

To get more of an understanding of this phenomenon, I called various Professors of Marine Biology in Norway who specialise in shrimp. I asked whether they knew what kind of shrimp it could be making these sounds. One of them sent a question to his world-wide shrimp network because he did not know that shrimp made these sounds. The replies came that the sounds are probably produced when they are feeding. I know that pistol shrimp make sounds when they snap they claws to paralyse their prey, but do others in the same family do the same? No one seemes to know. Underwater there is very little known about the soundscapes created by living creatures, and few understand the details of variations between the various grunts, knocking sounds and rumbling sounds that cod, haddock, pollock, other fish and crustaceas produce, and how they experience and orientate themselves through the use of sound.”

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