Underwater loudspeakers could help boost coral reef recovery

Scientists recorded sounds of healthy coral reefs and played these sounds via a loudspeaker on damaged reefs, which resulted in an increase of fish population in the area.

    2019/12/03

NSFW    EXETER, UNITED KINGDOM — New research has found that deploying underwater loudspeakers to play the sounds of healthy coral reef could help restore damaged reefs.

In a joint study by two British universities and two Australian universities, scientists recorded sounds of healthy reefs and then played these sounds via a loudspeaker for 40 days on Australia's northern Great Barrier Reef.

One of the authors of the study explained that healthy coral reefs are noisy, with shrimp and fish living in the area creating noise. Once coral reefs start to degrade or are damaged, reefs turn eerily quiet. This results in fish in the reefs leaving to find a new home.

At the end of the experiment, scientists found that the degraded coral reefs had a 50 percent increase in the number of juvenile fish.

Lead author of the study, Tim Gordon, explained in a news release that the growth of fish population choosing to stay in the damaged reefs could help to kick-start the natural recovery process for the coral reefs.

Co-author of the study, Andy Radford, from the University of Bristol, said that this technique could be combined with other coral restoration techniques to help accelerate ecosystem recovery.

Though Radford added that we need to combat other threats such as climate change, water pollution and overfishing in order to better protect these ecosystems in the first place.
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