New study finds that speakers under water help revive dying coral reefs

A recent study published in Nature Communications finds a recrudescence of coral reefs when underwater loudspeakers are introduced into their ecosystems.

This research highlights the impact playing sounds underwater can have on languishing corals, which could provide a boost in the right direction for conservation efforts.

They surmised that playing the sounds of healthy and vibrant coral reef ecosystems, rather than Beethoven or Slayer, can allure more fishes to come to those dying reefs, and the results concurred with their hypothesis and they were able to detect an increase in the number of fishes visiting these dead corals. In fact, they found that the number of fishes that visited the corals doubled in comparison to what they would see otherwise and also found a 50% increase in the number of species that were attracted to them.

To preclude the possibility of any bias creeping into their study, they had two control groups that had dummy speakers and no speakers. After about 40 days, the reefs which were acoustically enhanced with normal speakers saw a spike in the number of fishes visiting them than what was seen in the control groups. The fishes that visited them include herbivores, detritivores, planktivores and piscivores.

These fishes then make the environment more pristine by cleaning the reefs, allowing new corals to grow.

Professor Andy Radford, a co-author from the University of Bristol said in a press release that rebuilding the fish communities in this manner in tandem with other conservation measures like habitat restoration might ameliorate the situation for these dying reefs.

A pertinent thing in restoring the vigor of these coral reefs depend on many species’ visitation as different species perform different functions that contribute to the health of these reefs.

A recent study has zeroed in on an increase in Nitrogen concentration in water as a result of sewage and fertilizer runoff, as the primary cause contributing to the decline in coral population in Florida Keys.

Also, Zooxanthellae, a marine plankton, has a symbiotic relationship with the corals and is extremely sensitive to increase in temperatures, even if it’s a couple of degrees; hence even a slight increase in temperature would result in these dinoflagellates to part with their coral friends, leaving them vulnerable. It also appears that corals themselves are becoming more resistant to increasing temperatures themselves.

Sea water has a propensity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and consequently an increase in concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would result in a corresponding increase of CO2 in water, which can cause acidification of the oceans which is detrimental to the health of the reefs.

Not only fish, sounds of babbling brooks, endless waves lapping on to the shores or rustling leaves due to gentle breeze are pleasing and beneficial to one and all.




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