Scientists will broadcast the sounds of a healthy underwater ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef with the aim of attracting fish and speeding up their recovery.
Researchers will test the technique alongside coral reseeding projects to determine if there is a relationship between coral and fish reproduction and their survival.
“We know from a proof-of-concept study that soundscapes of healthy reefs are indicative of population,” said Paul Hardisty, CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
“Fish choose healthy reefs over degraded reefs.
“It will be a global game changer.”
The method will also be tested on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, where scientists are also trying to speed up the natural process of tropical reef growth and recovery.
Dr Hardisty said the research could lay the groundwork for a new ecosystem approach to influence the size of future adult coral populations and reef cover.
The five-year program will bring together researchers from the two World Heritage sites to understand whether attracting more fish to a reef positively influences coral growth after fertilization.
It is hoped that the methods will help improve the resilience of coral reefs and reduce the high mortality rate during their first year of life.
It could also help mitigate the effects of climate change and warming ocean temperatures.
Dr Hardisty said the increasing frequency, severity and duration of events that disrupt the health of tropical reefs left corals less time to recover.
“Marine science, along with reducing emissions, can play an important role in protecting Australia’s coral reefs from the growing effects of climate change,” he said.
The $ 27 million project is jointly funded by BHP.
AIMS is the Australian Tropical Marine Research Agency.
He undertakes research that will help governments, industry and the wider community to make informed decisions about the management of the country’s marine environments.
Associated Australian Press