Mysterious noise in Florida may be linked to local fish

Photo credit: Oleksandr P

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Since 2022, residents in a South Tampa neighborhood have been hearing deep bass sounds. But for years, they could not locate the source. The sound was described as a low hum, and even awakened young children from their sleep. Soon, James Locascio of the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota offered a possible explanation for these “mysterious” sounds. He suggested that they may be coming from the mating behavior of black drum fish in the nearby bay. To test his theory, five underwater microphones were installed in the bay.

According to Locascio, the underwater microphones provided him with the opportunity to learn more about the black drum fish.  Indeed, the sounds reported by the residents were similar to the sounds of black drum fish engaging in mating behavior. The microphones will record the fish for two months and will supplement other scientist’s observations of these fish. The final judgment on if the black drum fish are causing the mysterious noise will come several months after the data are analyzed. 

The funding for the underwater equipment used to study the fish came from the residents who raised the money through a GoFundMe page. It’s wonderful that their desire for an explanation for the strange sounds may result in greater knowledge of an underwater species.  

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