The findings provide more insight into the animals who live in the mesopelagic zone of the oceans.
For the first time, researchers have observed a mysterious buzz coming from the communities of fish, shrimps, jellies and squids as they travel up and down from the depths to the surface of the oceans.
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Scientists are not sure what this sound actually means but it can certainly help them better understand ecosystems of oceans and also the global carbon cycle from the atmosphere to the seafloor.
“It’s not that loud, it sounds like a buzzing or humming, and it goes on for an hour to two hours depending on the day.” Simone Baumann-Pickering, an assistant research biologist at the University of California said in a statement.
A massive number of animals such as fish, shrimps and squids live in the waters of the oceans at a level around 200 to 1000 meters below the surface. This level is also known as mesopelagic zone.
Ocean’s mesopelagic zone is very dark, murky and less abundant in food. Many deep water animals have to move up the surface in search of food at the evening, thinking that darkness will protect them from predators and sink back into the depths during the early hours of the morning.
Researchers suspect that this bizarre sound has something to do with this mass migration of the animals. In other words, it’s a sort of “it’s time to go” signal which is used by animals for moving together in groups.
Researchers used sensitive instruments to records the low frequency sounds the animals emit as they travel upward and downward. Otherwise, it is difficult for humans to distinguish the sound from background noise of the ocean. The sound is detectable a few hundred meters to a few kilometers away.
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It is well known that dolphins, whales and other large marine mammals use sound to communicate with each other but this kind of communication between small animals has not been observed before. Learning about who is communicating and what they’re communicating about is the biggest challenge for the scientists right now. If researchers able to find it out, it could potentially help assess the effects of climate change and will also provide an insight into the foraging patterns of animals living in the mesopelagic zone.