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MARINFORSK-Marine ressurser og miljø

A scientific and artistic seminar to increase public understanding of the complex mating lives of Atlantic cod

Awarded: NOK 30,999

When Atlantic cod gather to spawn each spring, they do not mate with random partners. They have a complex mating ritual that involves both audio (‘song’) and visual (‘dance’) displays. The music is made when the males beat their drumming muscles against their swim bladder to produce rhythms, and corresponds with circular dances and flaunting around the female. Males with larger drumming muscles have more offspring, suggesting that this drumming is important for reproductive success and sexual selection. We aim to share this knowledge and, to some extent, experience with the public through a scientific and artistic seminar. The project we will present primarily aims to understand how drumming behaviours vary among individual cod, what makes some individuals more attractive than others, and whether cod have different dialects depending on where they are from. We have partnered with the Institute of Marine Research Flødevigen and the Norwegian Centre for Technology in Music and Art (NoTAM) to record cod mating in surround sound with hydrophones and develop a sound installation that transports listeners underwater in the middle of a group of spawning cod. We used advanced filtering and classification algorithms based on machine learning to create a catalogue of cod sounds. We will present an original performance by the percussion duo Pinquins and an electronic musician/composer, in which the musicians will interact with the cod recordings using machine learning to reflect the bidirectionality of communication and human-nature interactions. The seminar will address what "torsketromming" means for how cod populations are potentially impacted by anthropogenic stressors, such as marine noise pollution and fishing during spawning. By combining a scientific and artistic presentation into one seminar, we will communicate knowledge on cod and the changing coastal environment in an unforgettable way.

Funding scheme:

MARINFORSK-Marine ressurser og miljø