A new tool in the fight to save coral reefs: Sound
4:07

A new tool in the fight to save coral reefs: Sound

Science
When a coral reef dies off the fish that depend on it go away too and I don't blame him. I mean, who'd want to hang out on a dead reef? It's depressing. In order to protect these rich and diverse ecosystems, numerous high tech strategies are emerging and one recently developed by its Team of scientists from the UK and Australia might be the most WTF one I've seen so far. The technique is called acoustic enrichment. Here's how it works. Coral reefs are really noisy places when they're healthy ecosystems. Our ears don't work particularly well underwater. But when you record underwater using a hydrophone Like there's a whole different world for beauty. You hear the snacks and the constant crackle of snapping shrimp and other invertebrates as they click their claws at each other. You hear the whoops and the grunts and the chirps and the buzzes of all sorts of different fish species. Young fish use those reef sounds to help them find suitable places to build a life. That's where the acoustic enrichment comes in. We used underwater speakers that are usually used by synchronized swimmers that they used to play the music underwater so the swimmers can hear above the water and under the water when they're doing their competitions. We tied the underwater speakers onto the reef itself. And we played back the sounds of healthy coral reefs. The results speak for themselves. Acoustically enriched reefs attracted twice as many fish as the control reefs. The reefs that underwent acoustic enrichment also found a 50% increase in the variety of species present, and those species represented all different parts of the food chain. Juvenile fish at the start of their line Pretty territorial, they tend to find somewhere to live, they tend to settle, and then they tend to stay there. That's really useful for this experiment and for this technique in general, because what it means is if we can convince a fish that it's worth staying somewhere, that it's worth settling and they survived, then they'll probably stay there for quite a while. That's what we saw in this experiment. They were there for six weeks, and they created a whole community of fish that were stable. Fish play an important role in cleaning the reef and eating algae, which can create new spots for corals to take root. They've evolved together for millions of years. And reefs need that fish just as much as fish need a reef to live on. Acoustic enrichment is a pretty awesome new tool in the fight to save Earth corals. But it's not the only one. satellites and an airborne laboratory from NASA help keep tabs on the health of the world's corals. While scientists experiment with various ways to help corals grow and become more resilient to rising ocean temperatures. There's even an underwater robot called larval bot that helps deliver heat tolerant coral larva directly to damaged reefs. Of course, none of this awesome stuff matters if we can't stop the coral from dying off in the first place. Ultimately, one of the biggest threats to coral reef worldwide is climate change, causing more severe tropical cyclone And more severe and frequent coral bleaching events. That's when the water warms up so much and so fast that the coral literally cooks and dies. In the end, the survival of coral reefs worldwide isn't really going to be down to a handful of marine biologists or people who live and work on corals It's going to be down to everyday people all over the world, making the necessary changes to address this global problem. I've been lucky to have snorkel of a lot in Hawaii over the years since my dad grew up there. And this past year the reef was noticeably worse than I had ever seen it. Although the threat is very real and very severe. There is still time to make the necessary chanes on the global political and also on a local estoration level. That means that we could still protect and celebrate the incredible lines set remais in our nations today. As alaways thanks so much for watching, I am your host Jessy Wal long live the worlds [UNKNOWN]. [MUSIC]

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