Underwater loudspeakers could help restore damaged coral reefs

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 2, 2019

The researchers found that up to twice as many fish ended up populating the reefs where these sounds were played, versus areas in similar states of decay where they were not.

"Fish are crucial for coral reefs to function as healthy ecosystems", said the study's lead author, Tim Gordon, of the University of Exeter, in a statement.

It's hoped this discovery could help to restore damaged coral reefs. A team of researchers led by marine biologists at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom set up underwater loudspeakers to play recorded sounds of healthy reefs in an effort to lure young fish to come hang out in areas where the coral had degraded.

One way to help restore the coral reef's natural recovery process is to boost fish populations. But this technique could be used in tandem with others being developed by scientists and researchers, including re-planting fresh coral and developing heat-resistant coral strains, to return vibrancy and life to portions of the oceans' reefs where human activity has taken a serious toll.

The new technique works by regenerating the sounds that are lost when reefs are quietened by degradation, according to the findings published in Nature Communications.

"Healthy coral reefs are remarkably loud places".

The team says that juvenile fish hone in on those sounds where looking for a place to settle. A new study suggests that sounds from healthy reefs could also play a role in saving them.

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

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

"However, we still need to tackle a host of other threats including climate change, overfishing and water pollution in order to protect these fragile ecosystems".

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