Sing Like Fish: How Sound Rules Life Under Water (Hardcover)

Sing Like Fish: How Sound Rules Life Under Water By Amorina Kingdon Cover Image

Sing Like Fish: How Sound Rules Life Under Water (Hardcover)


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A captivating exploration of how underwater animals tap into sound to survive, and a clarion call for humans to address the ways we invade these critical soundscapes—from an award-winning science writer

Sing Like Fish is that rare book that makes you see the world differently.”—Mark Kurlansky, New York Times bestselling author of Salt and Cod

For centuries, humans ignored sound in the “silent world” of the ocean, assuming that what we couldn’t perceive, didn’t exist. But we couldn’t have been more wrong. Marine scientists now have the technology to record and study the complex interplay of the myriad sounds in the sea. Finally, we can trace how sounds travel with the currents, bounce from the seafloor and surface, bend with the temperature and even saltiness; how sounds help marine life survive; and how human noise can transform entire marine ecosystems. 

In Sing Like Fish, award-winning science journalist Amorina Kingdon synthesizes historical discoveries with the latest scientific research in a clear and compelling portrait of this sonic undersea world. From plainfin midshipman fish, whose swim-bladder drumming is loud enough to keep houseboat-dwellers awake, to the syntax of whalesong; from the deafening crackle of snapping shrimp, to the seismic resonance of underwater earthquakes and volcanoes; sound plays a vital role in feeding, mating, parenting, navigating, and warning—even in animals that we never suspected of acoustic ability. 

Meanwhile, we jump in our motorboats and cruise ships, oblivious to the impact below us. Our lifestyle is fueled by oil in growling tankers and furnished by goods that travel in massive container ships. Our seas echo with human-made sound, but we are just learning of the repercussions of anthropogenic noise on the marine world’s delicate acoustic ecosystems—masking mating calls, chasing animals from their food, and even wounding creatures, from plankton to lobsters. 

With intimate and artful prose, Sing Like Fish tells a uniquely complete story of ocean animals’ submerged sounds, envisions a quieter future, and offers a profound new understanding of the world below the surface.
Amorina Kingdon is a science writer whose work has been anthologized in Best Canadian Essays and received honors including a Digital Publishing Award, a Jack Webster Award, and a Best New Magazine Writer from the National Magazine Awards. Previously, she was a staff writer for Hakai Magazine, and a science writer for the University of Victoria and the Science Media Center of Canada. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593442777
ISBN-10: 0593442776
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English
“Amorina Kingdon’s perspective-changing book about sound in the sea is certain to make an enormous splash! Yes, there’s whale song, but like a sound wave, this book ripples outward, showing how critical the soundscape is to the smallest and most foundational animals as well. I learned so much from Sing Like Fish, and had a ball reading it, too!”—Juli Berwald, author of Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone and Life on the Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs

Sing Like Fish is brilliant, poetic, and poignant. Kingdon opens a world of sound to her readers that most will never hear themselves—for how many of us carry hydrophones to drop into a sea or lake so we can eavesdrop on the fish? May we celebrate this underwater symphony, not destroy it.”—Virginia Morell, New York Times bestselling author of Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel

“Science writer Amorina Kingdon’s fascinating and brilliant book, Sing Like Fish, introduces us to the soundscape of the sea—a mysterious and endangered realm marine biologists are just starting to understand.”—Cat Warren, New York Times bestselling author of What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dog Perceive the World

“Amorina Kingdon’s Sing Like Fish is that rare book that makes you see the world differently, at least the two thirds that is ocean. For someone like me, who has always loved and tried to understand the sea, this fascinating book makes you feel closer to the life that is teeming there.”—Mark Kurlansky, New York Times bestselling author of Salt and Cod

“Those of us of a certain age grew up on Jacques Cousteau’s mischaracterization of the ocean as a ‘silent world.’ Luckily for us, in this wondrous book Amorina Kingdon skillfully conveys the aural textures and messaging that fills the vast liquid world within our world.”—Carl Safina, New York Times bestselling author of Alfie & Me

Splendid and surprising voices beneath the waves are singing of longing and hunger and love, and who knows what else. This book is a revelation! I loved it!”—Sy Montgomery, New York Times bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

“Fluidly marrying personal reflection and observation with science and history and illuminated by fascinating facts and moments of beauty and grace, Sing Like Fish is both a love song to the wonders of the underwater world and a reminder of the vulnerability of the extraordinary beings that inhabit it.”—James Bradley, author of Deep Water: The World in The Ocean

“’The ocean is not and has never been a silent place,’ according to this exquisite debut inquiry . . . Kingdon’s descriptions are as edifying as they are evocative . . . [Sing Like Fish] will open readers’ eyes, and ears, to a heretofore hidden world.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review