Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. According to Ocean, they support a quarter of all ocean species despite taking up less than two percent of the ocean floor, making them the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They help provide humanity food, jobs, medicine, protect our shorelines, and are estimated to be “worth” up to $172 billion dollars a year, according to Scientific American. But if David Attenborough didn’t tell you, despite taking hundreds or even thousands of years to form, they’re rapidly disappearing, and as you might guess, humanity is largely to blame. That’s the bad news. But there’s also good news!
Scientists have found a new way to help bring them back to life — with underwater speakers. And while they’re not exactly blasting Aaron Carter’s greatest hits to convince all the fish to come through — what they’re doing isn’t that different.
A recent study published in Nature Communications reports that “playing the sounds of healthy and vibrant coral reef ecosystems, rather than Beethoven or Slayer,” was able to double the number of fish that rolled up when the party was bumpin’. They also found a 50% increase in the number of species that were attracted to them.
To be sure it wasn’t a fluke, they also had two control groups — one with no speakers and one with fake speakers. Neither did a thing. But the party reefs saw more “herbivores, detritivores, planktivores and piscivores,” all of which clean the reefs, allowing new corals to grow and perpetuating the good vibes.
Scientists are hopeful that these findings will help slow the deaths of our corals. By attracting a diverse group of marine life, the benefits of their revitalizing efforts pile on, kind of how a Thanksgiving meal tastes better than ever when all the different portions mix together, combining for a wholly new level of deliciousness. Here’s to hoping we are blessed with these cornucopias of life for a long time. Amen.
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