Friday, April 19, 2024

Reef Sounds Help Larval Animals Settle


Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have shown that the noise footprint of a healthy reef plays an important role in animal larvae deciding where to settle and grow.

The researchers found that these larvae use the noise of a healthy reef to decide which is the best location for them. In the study, the scientists showed that reefs with a less vibrant soundscape are much less attractive to these larvae than those with a healthy soundscape. This was done by broadcasting the sound of a healthy reef on a desolate reef, and there was a clear improvement in the number of larvae choosing that reef.

According to the paper’s first author and WHOI doctoral candidate Nadège Aoki:

“What we’re showing is that you can actively induce coral settlement by playing sounds. You can go to a reef that is degraded in some way and add in the sounds of biological activity from a healthy reef, potentially helping this really important step in the coral life cycle. We seem to have lost some of the complexity of Tektite’s soundscape over the last decade. It could be that conditions there are not as good as we thought they were, but we don’t know for sure.”

 While the study’s lead author and WHOI marine biologist Aran Mooney added:

“The fact that settlement is consistently decreasing with distance from the speaker, when all else is kept constant, is particularly important because it shows that these changes are due to the added sound and not other factors. This gives us a new tool in the toolbox for potentially rebuilding a reef.”

You can find the original research here.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for