As coral reefs die they become silent graveyards, however, the introduction of underwater loudspeakers brings new life and helps to rejuvenate the coral reefs, The Nature Communications reported.
In a recent study, the marine researchers highlighted the impact of playing sounds around dead or dying corals. According to the 40-days-long experiments, the coral reefs like sounds of their own healthy vibrant ecosystems. No pop-music of anything like this, said Professor Andy Radford, one of the co-authors of the study.
To make sure there was no bias in the acoustically enriched reefs, the research team from the University of Bristol studied dead coral areas with both dummy speakers and no speakers.
After 40 days of the experiments, the acoustically enriched reefs had double the number of fish compared to the dummy speaker and no speaker control groups. The increase in fish was spread across a diverse transect, including herbivores, detritivores, planktivores, and predatory piscivores.
The marine biologists suggested they could potentially entice juvenile and adult fish to a dying reef by playing sounds associated with a vibrant living reef. Their hypothesis was proved by the results, broadcasting healthy reef sounds doubled the total number of fish and increased the number of fish species by 50% compared to equivalent unmodified dead coral.
The underwater speakers are able to revive dying coral reefs
In fact, fish clean reef and create spaces for new corals to grow while the speakers attract the fish to intensify those natural efforts.
“If combined with habitat restoration and other conservation measures, rebuilding fish communities in this manner might accelerate ecosystem recovery,” the press release reads.
According to the study, the primary factor in the death of corals in the Florida Keys is due to nitrogen enrichment from sewage and fertilizer runoff.
Also, coral zooxanthellae require a narrow temperature range to live, increasing the temperature of the surrounding ocean water only a couple of degrees can cause zooxanthellae to leave corals en masse, essentially killing the coral reef. On a positive note, it appears corals are becoming more resistant to increasing ocean temperatures.
The second factor associated with the decline of corals is through ocean acidification, which can etch away the fragile coral carbonate skeleton and weaken coral reefs.