The dead patches from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could actually be revived by playing ambient sounds of a healthy reef through loudspeakers. This way, we can lure young fish. The fish will help in cleaning the reef and making room for the new corals to grow, and this is how the process of ecosystem recovery starts. By increasing frequent marine heatwaves, dead patches appeared in the barrier reef – corals are forced to get rid of their symbiotic algae.
Tim Gordon, the marine biologist from the University of Exeter, set up submarine loudspeakers in the patches of dead corals around Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef. The speakers played recordings of the sounds of a healthy reef. They even included the noises made by fish and shrimps.
Sounds of Healthy Coral Reefs Might Help Endangered Corals
The study found that twice as many fish came to the dead patches, where the loudspeakers were placed. Fish are significant for coral reefs to function appropriately as a healthy ecosystem. If you attract fish this way, you can start a natural recovery process, “nursing” the damage that we all see on the coral reefs around the world. This technique works by reproducing the sounds which get lost when the reefs start to degrade.
Those coral reefs that are healthy are noisy, there’s a biological soundscape, with all the fish and the shrimps. Fish find a home in these sounds when they want to find a place to settle. And the reefs become quiet when they start to degrade, so the fish and the shrimps disappear. But we can now attract the fish back, and restore the sounds.