Oceanographic WAVs

Sounds are all around us, and so too is writing about sound, often as not well beyond the bounds of what’s considered music criticism. For example, a story in today’s New York Times (“For Young Fish, It Seems, the Call of the Reef Is Music,” link) puts many netlabels to shame in its exploration of the outer reaches of sonic life. Destination? The coral reef, where scientists have discovered that young fish use ocean noise as a means to gauge a new neighborhood’s hospitality. Says a researcher from Edinburgh: “They can listen to what animals are on it before deciding whether to settle.” Included with the online version of the article are two downloadable “wav” files, one of the “popping sound of nocturnal shrimp,” the other of the “sizzle” of snapping shrimp. It’s unclear if the decision to use wav files is some sort of aquatic pun.

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