Subject: underwater noise

Martine Berube (
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 11:44:09 GMT

At 03.06 PM 22-03-1999 +0000, you wrote:
>My family and I have recently completed a trip to St. Croix, Virgin
>Islands. While we were
>there we noticed that while snorkeling underwater we could hear all
>kinds of snapping and popping
>sounds. Our tour guide told us that it was the sound of crabs clicking
>their pincers. I did not believe
>this- I was guessing that it was water and sand movements that caused
>this underwater noise. Could
>you shed some light on this for me and my family?
>Thank You,
>Alice Mensch

Dear Alice,

It is difficult to guess what you were actually listening to while
snorkeling. If you read this popular article at this address
(, you can understand that there is a lot of
source of noise under the sea. For example, a lot of species of fishes,
mainly the ones living in school, are being found to use sound production as
a mean for navigation and communication. In addition, we know that sound
communication is well developed in species such as the fiddler crabs. 
Martine Berube
School of Biological Sciences 		    
University of Wales - Bangor                
Deiniol Road, Bangor 		
Gwynedd LL57 2UW 		
Wales, United Kingdom		
Phone 	+44 1 248 38 22 96
Fax     +44 1 248 38 28 25