Acoustic Enrichment - The Art of Bringing Coral Reefs Back to Life

Acoustic Enrichment – The Art of Bringing Coral Reefs Back to Life


Today’s positive news concerns coral reefs. Many of our planet’s coral reefs are in a pretty bad shape and in need of restoration efforts, in order thrive again.

In this article, you can read about an amazing such restoration effort! Acoustic enrichment holds the power of revitalizing dead or dying coral reefs and of seriously enhancing fish community development. It’s the art of bringing coral reefs back to life!

In a recent study, published by Nature Communications, scientists explain an absolutely amazing way of revitalizing dying, or even dead coral reefs with the help of acoustic enrichment.

A definition of acoustic enrichment for coral reefs

Acoustic enrichment includes the practice of playing sounds of active, healthy and vibrant coral reefs around dead our dying reef structures. This is achieved with the help of an underwater technology using loudspeakers that are placed near a reef in need of restoration.

The sounds start to attract both juvenile and adult fish species back to the reef that they have abandoned. In other words, this awesome technology literally uses the sounds of the past to improve the future!

Fish populations are naturally drawn to vibrant and active coral reefs. So, how do you transform a dying reef into such a fish-friendly environment? By playing the sounds of a living coral reef! The idea is as simple as it is brilliant and the results have been superb. The researchers state that “acoustic enrichment shows promise as a novel tool for the active management of degraded coral reefs.”

It’s the clicking noise that attracts fish back to the reefs

The reef’s so famous, and by the way also extremely relaxing, clicking noise is the main factor behind the enhanced fish community development. The research’s 6 week long field study showed that the populations of predominately juvenile fish had grown by almost 50% within the reef area!

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Effect of acoustic enrichment on fish community development. Nature Communications

So much for the fish, but how is the reef benefiting from all this? Well, that’s the truly amazing part of this news! The returned fish communities can help the reef start a process of recovery. The fish clean the entire reef, in search of food, and free up spaces for new corals to grow. Hence, reintroduction of various fish species is extremely vital for the maintenance and health of reef ecosystems.

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Study and experiment area in Australia. Nature Communications

The experiment took place off the coast of Australia; an area severely affected by coral reef degradation. If this concept can produce such outstanding results in a vulnerable area like this one, imagine the potential for less affected areas around the world!

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Researchers investigating potential acoustic enrichment site

Related All Good Newz Article: 200.000 New Coral reefs – An Astonishing Surprise Discovery

Negative factors affecting coral reefs

There are plenty of factors that can influence the overall health of a coral reef. Acoustic enrichment can help recovering many reefs, but in order to really get to the root of the problem, we will have to address all of the following areas! Fortunately, much work is already done and awareness is increasing steadily!

One of them include fertilizers from the agricultural industries that are flushed into the seas via rivers and streams. However, changes and improvements could come about rather quickly here. The global agricultural sector is already showing improvements by using more environmentally friendly fertilizers. In many cases, farmers have already switched to completely ecological farming practices.

Related All Good Newz Article: 50% of Global Fish Stocks Recover Due to Sustainable Fishing

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Effects of overfishing on coral reefs

Another has to do with overfishing. Fish in coastal areas are a significant food source for many people and coral reefs in such areas are affected negatively by both net and blast fishing. In deeper waters, the net bottom dragging- and trawling can destroy many coral reef ecosystems. Here, extensive fishing regulation will be needed!

Yet another, more difficult issue to tackle, is the increasing amount of CO2. More CO2 in the atmosphere is equal to a higher level of ocean acidification, which affects corals negatively. Lately though, massive reforestation efforts and projects have been started all over the globe. Both forests and underwater forests, such as sea grass and mangroves, can absorb an enormous amounts of CO2. Oc course, moving away quickly from oil and coal will help to speed up the decreasing of CO2 in our atmosphere and oceans.

Related All Good Newz Article: 4ocean – The Plastic Cleaners of the Seven Seas

A fourth factor has to do with an ever increasing amount of plastic in our oceans. A UN Environment report explains that plastic has the highest concentration in coastal areas and reef environments. Here, the vast majority of this litter originates from land-based sources. Major clean up operations are already being undertaken offshore, to clean up our oceans. More action is however needed on land, so that the source of plastic reaching the oceans can dry up.

Conclusively, there is plenty of work to do for us, the global community. What’s truly positive is that more and more areas appear to make really good progress and more and more scientists, organizations, communities and governments are working hard to turn the tide for our coral reefs. Keep up the good work in our oceans!