Sound Reception
How do marine animals hear?

Many experiments have been done to determine whether marine animals hear underwater. Many species of blind amphibians, reptiles, fishes and mammals are known, but no naturally profoundly deaf vertebrate species have been discovered. Studies have found that some fishes are able to hear while most marine mammals are able to hear and interpret sound. Fishes, sea turtles, sea birds, and whales have different types of ears, but they all work underwater. Researchers are trying to understand how each of these ears work. The main questions they are trying to answer are: What can each group hear? Which group can hear best? And why do their ears work in water at all?

Photo of a herring school.
Some fish species, such as herring, have adaptations that help them hear underwater sounds. Photograph ©Mark & Carol Archambault.