Underwater loudspeakers can help restore coral reef

  • Underwater loudspeakers can help restore coral reef

Underwater loudspeakers can help restore coral reef

It's hoped this discovery could help to restore damaged coral reefs.

Over the course of six weeks, researchers from the United Kingdom and Australia played audio recordings over speakers installed underwater at dead patches found in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It involves playing the dulcet sounds of nature under the waves.

Scientists working to bring the Great Barrier Reef back to its former healthy state have found that young fish can be drawn to the degraded coral reef by using loudspeakers to play the sound of healthy reefs.

"Fish are crucial for coral reefs to function as healthy ecosystems", said study lead author Tim Gordon, a PhD student at Exeter University. "Boosting fish populations in this way could help to kick-start natural recovery processes, counteracting the damage we're seeing on many coral reefs around the world". The different groups of fish at the reef provide a different function for the reef and are required for a healthy ecosystem. They also found that there was more biodiversity at these locations, with up to 50 percent more species in the mix vs. the control sites, and that the new denizens who did make their way to the reefs with the artificial sounds tended to set up to stay. The crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts of fish combine to form a dazzling biological soundscape. "Juvenile fish hone in on these sounds when they're looking for a place to settle", said one of the study's authors, Steve Simpson, a professor of marine biology and global change at the University of Exeter.

All parts of the food chain were attracted to the reefs, including herbivores, detritivores, planktivores and predatory piscivores, the researchers found.

Fish are able to clean the reef and create space for corals to re-grow, so they're really useful for its survival.