Scientists working to restore the Great Barrier Reef to its previous health have found that young fish can be attracted to degraded reefs by using loudspeakers to play the sound of healthy reefs, according to slash Gear, amedia outlet. The team calls the technology an “acoustic enrichment” and believes it could be a valuable tool to help restore damaged coral reefs. Underwater speakers are placed along the reef and healthy reef recordings are played in degraded reefs.
The team found that when sound was played, the number of fish that reached and stayed on the reef was twice as high as in areas where the sound was not played. The team says fish are critical to the function of coral reefs as healthy ecosystems.
One way to help coral reefs recover naturally is to increase fish stocks. The sound generated by the new technology will disappear when the reef is quieted by degradation. The team says healthy coral reefs are “very noisy places” and that many sounds together make up the biological sound.
The team says the young fish are attracted to the sounds and go for food. When coral reefs are degraded, they become a very quiet place. And they found that the speakers were once again attracting young fish. The study found that playing healthy reef sounds doubled the number of fish reaching the reef’s habitat.
In addition, the experiment increased the number of species in existence by 50 per cent. Diversity includes species in all parts of the food web, including herbivores, debris-eating animals, zooplankton and predatory predators. Different fish on the reef provide different functions for the reef and are necessary for a healthy ecosystem.