A group of scientists are repopulating the fish in dead corals in the ocean by using loudspeakers – and it has actually worked!
The ocean is such a beautiful place, serving as a habitat for many fish and crustaceans within the clustered corals. Yet this habitat is being destroyed by waves, tropical storms and global warming. Due to changes in the climate, our underwater paradise is slowly but surely vanishing because of various, but severe threats.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has stated that 33 per cent of reef-building corals are in danger. Many reefs around the world have suffered the consequences of climate change. With several coral reef sanctuaries having undergone mass bleaching or being destroyed by physical causes, such as explosives, mining and overfishing.
One of the main victims of this is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, that has the world’s most extensive coral reef system. National Geographic has released alarming data which reveals that half of the Great Barrier Reef has been bleached to death since 2016, caused by the heat stress of climate change.
A British and Australian team of scientists have joined together to come up with an innovative solution to revive one of the world’s natural seven wonders.
Their groundbreaking findings have been published in the Journal of Nature Communications, which reveal how the use of loudspeakers has helped attract fishes back to the dead coral reefs to restore them back to health.
This process is being dubbed the “acoustic enrichment”.
Co-author Andy Radford of University of Bristol described “acoustic enrichment”: “Acoustic enrichment is a promising technique for management on a local basis.”
Across the Great Barrier Reef, loudspeakers have been placed on patches of dead coral and after careful observation, it was established that there had been some positive results.
After the loudspeakers had been placed, nearly twice as many fish arrived and inhabited the makeshift habitat in comparison to patches where they played no sound.
Steve Simpson, marine biology and global change professor at the University of Exeter, said: “Healthy coral reefs are remarkably noisy places – the crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts fish combine to form a dazzling biological soundscape. Juvenile fish hone on these sounds when they’re looking for a place to settle.”
Since the occupants migrated to other habitats, it has meant a degraded reef which has become almost silent.
Simpson added: “By using loudspeakers to restore this lost soundscape, we can attract young fish back again.”
Another marine biologist and lead author of the study, by the name of Tim Gordon, has mentioned how the rise in fish population can help the lost ecosystem thrive again.
“Fish are crucial for coral reefs to function as health ecosystems… Boosting fish populations in this way can help kick-start natural recovery processes, counteracting the damage we’re seeing on many coral reefs around the world.”
This recent innovation has remarkably boosted the number of species living in the coral reefs by 50 per cent.
Despite this astonishing discovery, there is still plenty of work needed to be done to get the preservation of coral reefs to an excellent standard. With average water temperatures rising, and problems such as overfishing occurring, and pollution a pressing issue, there is still so much research to be done in order to restore the reef’s abundant marine population.
But thanks to the power of music, some progress is finally happening.
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Aimee is a Media & Communications graduate from Birmingham City University with a passion for everything related to cats, milkshakes and Oreo-flavoured consumables. You will often find Aimee typing furiously equipped with a Greggs’ sausage roll and a gingerbread man.