Coral reefs worldwide are increasingly damaged by anthropogenic stressors, necessitating novel approaches for their management. Maintaining healthy ﬁsh communities counteracts reef degradation, but degraded reefs smell and sound less attractive to settlement-stage ﬁshes than their healthy states. Here, using a six-week ﬁeld experiment, we demonstrate that playback of healthy reef sound can increase ﬁsh settlement and retention to degraded habitat. We compare ﬁsh community development on acoustically enriched coral-rubble patch reefs with acoustically unmanipulated controls. Acoustic enrichment enhances ﬁsh community development across all major trophic guilds, with a doubling in overall abundance and 50% greater species richness. If combined with active habitat restoration and effective conservation measures, rebuilding ﬁsh communities in this manner might accelerate ecosystem recovery at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Acoustic enrichment shows promise as a novel tool for the active management of degraded coral reefs.
- Conservation biology
- Marine biology
- Restoration ecology
- Tropical ecology
Gordon, T., Radford, A. N., Davidson, I. K., Barnes, K., McCloskey, K., Nedelec, S., Meekan, M., McCormick, M., & Simpson, S. D. (2019). Acoustic enrichment can enhance fish community development on degraded coral reef habitat. Nature Communications, 10, [5414 (2019)]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13186-2