Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

David A. Mann, Ph.D.


Auditory evoked potential, Shark, Stingray, Underwater sound, Monopole, Dipole, Directional


The hearing abilities of elasmobranch fishes were examined in response to several types of stimuli using auditory evoked potentials (AEP). Audiograms were acquired for the nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, the yellow stingray, Urobatis jamaicensis, in a controlled environment using a monopole underwater speaker. A dipole stimulus was used to measure the hearing thresholds of the horn shark, Heterodontus francisi, and the white-spotted bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium plagiosum. The dipole experiments yielded much lower thresholds than any other experiment, suggesting that this type of sound specifically stimulated the macula neglecta by creating a strong velocity flow above the head of the shark. A shaker table was created to measure the directional hearing thresholds of the C. plagiosum and the brown-banded bamboo shark, C. punctatum. This experiment showed that these sharks could sense accelerations equally in all directions suggesting that they have omnidirectional ears. The results also yielded higher thresholds than with the dipole, suggesting that the macula neglecta was not stimulated as the sharks were being accelerated. An audiogram was also acquired for the Atlantic sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae, using a monopole speaker in the field. This experiment revealed that the hearing thresholds did not appear to be masked by ambient noise levels, and resulting thresholds yielded the lowest levels detected by any elasmobranch using AEPs. Taken together, these experiments show that sharks are most sensitive to low frequency sounds in the near field and use both their otoconial endorgans as well as the macula neglecta to sense particle motion.