Michael Fine

Professor Emeritus

Research Interests

Fish Neurobiology


Michael Fine is a fish neurobiologist with a background in marine biology and animal behavior. His research has focused on various aspects of acoustic communication in the oyster toadfish, catfish and sciaenid fishes. Highlights of his work include the demonstration that brain areas involved in sound production contain steroid target neurons as in other vertebrates, and the first demonstration of sexual dimorphism in a fish brain. A series of developmental studies on the toadfish sonic neuromuscular system indicate that the sonic muscle fiber increases in number and size for the life of the fish, and the sonic motor neurons, with innervation of the sonic muscles, increase in number and size for seven to eight years. His current work is devoted to following up these findings by determining mechanisms of muscle fiber proliferation and conducting field and laboratory studies on the effect of continuous growth and sexual dimorphism of the swim bladder, sonic muscles and neurons on toadfish sound production.


  • Parmentier, E. & Fine, M. L. 2015. Fish sound production and acoustic communication. In: RA Suthers and W Tecumseh Fitch (ed). Vertebrate sound production and communication. Springer Handbook of auditory research SHAR, Springer Verlag, New York. In press.
  • Lahiri, S. & Fine, M.L. Explosive development of pectoral muscle fibers in large juvenile blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus. Journal of Fish Biology. On-line.
  • Fine, M. L. & Parmentier, E. 2015. Mechanisms of fish sound production. In: Sound communication in fishes, Ladich F (ed). Springer-Verlag, Wien, pp 77-126.
  • Mohajer, Y., Ghahramani, Z.N. & Fine, M.L. 2015. Pectoral sound generation in the blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 201: 5-15.
  • Ghahramani, Z.N., Mohajer, Y & Fine, M.L. 2014. Developmental variation in sound production in water and air in the blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus. Journal of Experimental Biology 217:4244-4251
  • Borie, A., Mok, H.K., Chao, N.L., & Fine, M.L. 2014. Spatiotemporal variability and sound characterization in Silver croaker Plagioscion squamossissimus (Sciaenidae) in the Central Amazon. PLOS1 9: 1-8 e99326.
  • Fine, M.L, Lahiri, S. Sullivan, A.D.H., Mayo, M. Newton, S.H. & Sismour, E.N. 2014. Reduction of the pectoral spine and girdle in domesticated channel catfish is likely caused by changes in selection pressure. Evolution 68:2102-2107
  • Balazkik, M. T., Langford, B. C., Garman, G. C., Fine, M. L., Stewart, J. K., Latour, R. J. & McIninch, S. P. 2013. Comparison of MS-222 and electronarcosis as anesthetics on cortisol levels in juvenile Atlantic sturgeon. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142: 1640-1643.
  • Bredlau, J. P., Mohajer, Y.J., Cameron, T.M, Kester, K.M. & Fine, M.L. 2013. Characterization and generation of male courtship song in Cotesia congregata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). PLOS1 8(4): 1-9 e62051.
  • Sismour, E.N, Nellis, S.C., Newton, S.H., Mays, D. & Fine, M.L. 2013. An experimental study of consumption of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus by largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides when alternative prey are available. Copeia 2013: 277-283.
  • Miano, J.P., Loesser-Casey, K.E. & Fine, M.L. 2013. Description and scaling of pectoral muscles in ictalurid catfishes. Journal of Morphology 274:467-477.
  • Fine, M.L. 2012. Fine, M.L. Swimbladder sound production: the forced response versus the resonant bubble. Bioacoustics 21:5-7.
  • Balazik, M.T., Reine, K.J., Spells, A.J., Fredrickson, C.A., Fine, M.L. Garman, G.C. & McIninch, S.P. 2012. The potential for vessel interactions with adult Atlantic sturgeon in the James River, Virginia. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32:1062-1069.
  • Balazik, M.T., McIninch, S.P., Garman, G.C., Fine, M.L. & Smith, C.B.. 2012. Using energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence microchemistry to infer migratory life history of Atlantic sturgeon. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 95:191-194.
  • Mok, H.K, Parmentier, E., Chiu, K.H., Tsai, K.E., Chiu, P.H., and Fine, M.L. 2011. An intermediate in the evolution of superfast sonic muscles. Frontiers in Zoology 8:1-8.
  • Fine, M.L., Sismour, E.N., Newton, S.H., Bosher, B.T., Sullivan, A, D. H., Miano, J.P., Ghahramani, Z.N., Mohajer, Y. and Nellis, S. 2011. A primer on functional morphology and behavioral ecology of the pectoral spine of the channel catfish. American Fisheries Society Symposium 77: 745-753.
  • Sismour, E.N., M.D. Crosby, S.H. Newton, and M.L. Fine. 2011. Survival, condition and pathogen load of channel catfish fingerlings following transport. American Fisheries Society Symposium 77:239-247
  • Fine, M.L., Mayo, M.S., Newton, S.H. and Sismour, E.H. 2011. Largemouth bass predators reduce growth, feeding and movement in juvenile channel catfish. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 20:114-119.
  • Tellechea, J.S., Norbis, W., Olsson, D. and Fine, M.L. 2010. Calls of the black drum (Pogonius chromis: Sciaenidae): Geographical differences in sound production between Northern and Southern Hemisphere populations. Journal of Experimental Zoology. 313A:1-8.
  • Tellechea, J.S., Martinez, C., Fine, M.L., and Norbis, W. 2010. Sound production in the whitemouth croaker and relationship between fish size and disturbance call characteristics. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 89:163-172.
  • Parmentier, E., Bouillac, G., Dragičević, B., Dulčić, J. and Fine, M.L. 2010. Call properties and morphology of the sound-producing organ in Ophidion rochei. Journal of Experimental Biology 213:3230-3236.
  • Balazik, M.T., Garman, G.C., Fine, M.L. Hager, C.H., and McIninch. 2010. Changes in age composition and growth characteristic of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrichus oxyrinchus) over 400 years. Biology Letters. 6:708-710
  • Fine, M.L,, King, C.B. and Cameron, T.M. 2009. Acoustical properties of the swimbladder in the oyster toadfish Opsanus tau. Journal of Experimental Biology 212:3542-3552.
  • Nguyen, T.K., Lin, H., Parmentier, E., and Fine, M.L. 2008. Seasonal variation in sonic muscles in the fawn cusk-eel Lepophidium profundorum. Biology Letters 4:707-710.
  • Mitchell, S., Poland, J., and Fine, M.L. 2008. Does muscle fatigue limit advertisement calling in the oyster toadfish Opsanus tau? Animal Behaviour. 7:1011-1016.
  • Longrie, N, Fine, M. L. and Parmentier, E. 2008. Innate sound production in the cichlid Oreochromis niloticus. Journal of Zoology 275: 413-417.
  • Horodysky, A.Z., Brill, R.W., Fine, M.L. Musick, J.A. and Latour, R.J. 2008 Acoustic pressure and particle motion thresholds in six sciaenid fishes. Journal of Experimental Biology. 211:1504-1511.
  • Fine, M.L., and Thorson, R.F. 2008. Use of passive acoustics for assessingbehavioral interactions in Individual toadfish. Transactions of the AmericanFisheries Society. 137:627-637.
  • Lugli, M., and Fine, M.L. 2007. Stream ambient noise, sound spectrum and propagation in the freshwater goby, Padogobius martensi: sound pressure and particle velocity. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America: 122:2881-2892.
  • Fine, M.L., Lin, H., Nguyen, B.B., Rountree, R.A., Cameron, T.M., and Parmentier, E. 2007. Functional morphology of the sonic apparatus of the fawn cusk-eel Lepophidium profundorum. Journal of Morphology. 268:953-966.
  • Parmentier, E., Colleye, O., Fine, M.L., Frédérich, B., Vanderwalle, P., andHerrel, A. 2007. Sound production in the clownfish Amphirprion clarkii. Science316:1006.
  • Parmentier, E., Fontenelle, N., Fine, M.L., Vanderwalle, P., and Henrist, C. 2006. Functional morphology of the sonic apparatus in Ophidion barbatum (Teleostei, Ophidiidae). Journal of Morphology 267: 1461-1468.
  • Parmentier, E., Vanderwalle, P., Frédérich, B., and Fine, M.L. 2006. Sound production in two species of damselfishes (Pomacentridae): Plectroghlyphiodon lacrymatus and Dascyllus aruanus. Journal of Fish Biology 69: 491-503.
  • Parmentier, E., Lagardère, J.P., Braquegnier, J.B., Vanderwalle, P., and Fine, M.L. 2006. Sound production mechanism in carapid fish: first example with a slow sonic muscle. Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 2952-2960.
  • Ladich F. and Fine, M.L. 2006. Sound-generating mechanisms in fishes: a unique diversity in vertebrates. In: Ladich F, Colin SP, Moller P, Kapoor BG, eds. Communication in fishes. Enfield, New Hampshire: Science Publishers. p 3-43.
  • Parmentier, E., Vandewalle, P., Fredéréch, B., and Fine, M.L. 2006. Sound production in two species of damselfish (Pomacentridae): Plectroglyphiodon lacrymatus and Dascyllus aruanus. Journal of Fish Biology 69: 491-503.
  • Parmentier, E., Fine, M.L., Vanderwalle, P., Ducamp, J.J., and Lagardere, J.P. 2006. Sound production in two carapids (Carapus acus and C. mourlani) and through the sea cucumber tegument. Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 87:113-119.
  • Bosher, B.T., Newton, S.H., and Fine, M.L. 2006. The spines of the channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, as an anti-predator adaptation: an experimental study. Ethology 112:188-195.


        Michael Fine

Contact Information