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A sound boost
21st February 2020

By Karen Pickwick

A team of scientists from the UK and Australia are using underwater loudspeakers to entice fish back to dead coral reefs and potentially help them recover.

Scientists placed loudspeakers on areas of dead coral in the Great Barrier Reef and found that twice as many fish arrived and stayed compared to areas where no sound was played, according a study published in Nature Communications.

“Healthy coral reefs are remarkably noisy places – the crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts of fish combine to form a dazzling biological soundscape. Juvenile fish hone in on these sounds when they're looking for a place to settle,” said Steve Simpson, a professor of marine biology and global change at the University of Exeter.

“Reefs become ghostly quiet when they are degraded, as the shrimps and fish disappear, but by using loudspeakers to restore this lost soundscape, we can attract young fish back again.”