Instead, the worldwide team of researchers from United Kingdom universities in Exeter and Bristol, plus Australia's James Cook University and Australian Institute of Marine Science, piped in recordings of healthy coral reefs.
Over the course of 40 nights, the team played recordings from a healthy reef in some of the patches. 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. Rebuilding fish communities in this manner might accelerate ecosystem recovery if joined with habitat restoration and other conservation measures.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef dead areas could be revived by playing the ambient sounds of a healthy reef through the help of loudspeakers to lure in young fish, according to scientists.
Corals rely on attracting a diverse population of fish to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
"The first thing that strikes you is this really loud crackle sound - it is nearly like static on the radio, or some people describe it like frying bacon, and that is the sound of thousands and thousands of snapping shrimp, all clicking their claws", he said, adding that fish make noises ranging from grunts to hums, buzzes and whoops. "Juvenile fish home in on these sounds when they're looking for a place to settle", senior author and professor Steve Simpson of the University of Exeter said in a press release Friday. But fish are responsible for a number of maintenance duties, including cleaning reefs and creating space for coral regrowth - important aspects of recovery.
An global team of scientists from the UK's University of Exeter and University of Bristol, and Australia's James Cook University and Australian Institute of Marine Science, say this "acoustic enrichment" could be a valuable tool in helping to restore damaged coral reefs.
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The authors of the new research warn that simply encouraging fish back to damaged coral sites won't be enough to revitalize them completely.
The acoustic technique works by reproducing the sounds that are lost when reefs are quietened by degradation, the researchers explained.
'Acoustic enrichment is a promising technique for management on a local basis, ' said.
"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", he said.
The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications. The results revealed that there were twice as many young fish living on the patches where the sounds were played than in either type of patch without such sounds, while the diversity of species was 50% greater where recordings were played.