Scientists have checked out numerous strategies to avoid wasting endangered coral reefs for years, the whole lot from rising them in labs to creating them air pollution resistant. A brand new research means that sounds from wholesome reefs may additionally play a job in saving them.

Often known as “acoustic enrichment,” researchers consider that placing underwater audio system close to the dying reefs may assist convey younger fish to the reefs and restore them.

“Fish are essential for coral reefs to perform as wholesome ecosystems,” stated the research’s lead writer, Tim Gordon, of the College of Exeter, in an announcement. “Boosting fish populations on this method may assist to kick-start pure restoration processes, counteracting the injury we’re seeing on many coral reefs all over the world.”

A clownfish in an anemone. (Credit score: Tim Gordon, College of Exeter)


The researchers had been engaged on the Nice Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, and positioned loudspeakers close to elements of lifeless coral and located “twice as many fish arrived — and stayed,” as in comparison with elements the place there was no sound from audio system. Not solely did the variety of fish double, however the variety of species elevated by 50 p.c, the researchers added.

“Wholesome coral reefs are remarkably noisy locations — the crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts of fish mix to kind a blinding organic soundscape,” one of many research’s co-authors, College of Exeter professor Steve Simpson, stated. “Juvenile fish house in on these sounds once they’re on the lookout for a spot to settle.”

All elements of the meals chain had been interested in the reefs, together with herbivores, detritivores, planktivores and predatory piscivores, the researchers discovered.

“Reefs grow to be ghostly quiet when they’re degraded, because the shrimps and fish disappear, however by utilizing loudspeakers to revive this misplaced soundscape, we are able to entice younger fish again once more,” Simpson added.

Australian Institute of Marine Science fish biologist Mark Meekan famous that bringing fish will not convey the reef “again to life mechanically,” however it should support in restoration, permitting it to be cleaned and “create house for corals to regrow.”

A coral rubblefield in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Credit: Tim Gordon, University of Exeter)

A coral rubblefield in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Credit score: Tim Gordon, College of Exeter)


One of many research’s different co-authors, Andy Radford, famous that “acoustic enrichment” is promising, as it may possibly assist convey in numerous species to take care of a wholesome ecosystem, however extra efforts are wanted for reef conservation and restoration.

“If mixed with habitat restoration and different conservation measures, rebuilding fish communities on this method may speed up ecosystem restoration,” Radford stated. “Nonetheless, we nonetheless have to deal with a bunch of different threats together with local weather change, overfishing and water air pollution as a way to defend these fragile ecosystems.”

The analysis has been printed within the scientific journal Nature.