Guest Essay by Eric Worrall
Scientists working to save coral reefs from climate change are testing whether underwater speakers continuously playing reef mood music, mostly the sound of predatory shrimp attacking prey, can attract more fish.
AIMS plays frying bacon sounds to fish in bid to save Australia’s coral reefs
To the untrained ear, it might sound like bacon frying in a pan but, to fish, it is the alluring sound of a healthy home.
- The Australian Institute of Marine Science is studying the Ningaloo Reef and the Great Barrier Reef
- On the Ningaloo Reef, speakers are playing healthy reef sounds to attract fish
- The project is examining how reseeding could improve the health of coral on the Great Barrier Reef
Marine scientists are using underwater speakers to pump out the sound of a potential breakthrough.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is in a race against climate change, with bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns outbreaks threatening reefs.
In response, it has hatched a national project to find out how to make reefs more resilient by studying the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
LISTEN Duration: 21 seconds – Healthy reef sounds
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AIMS biologist Mark Meekan says efforts are focussed on Ningaloo where healthy reef sounds are being played underwater to attract baby fish to reefs, which could improve coral growth.
“If our ears could hear underwater, we’d realise that reefs are actually quite noisy places — lots of pops and crackles from shrimp and all sorts of things,” he said.
“In fact, it sounds a bit like bacon frying in a pan.”
I’m sure my fellow Australians share my warm feeling about this use of our tax money, rigging up high end sound systems, to play mood music for fish.