Music can have an incredible influence on overall human health with benefits that range from physical fitness to mental stability. While the power of music and structured audio can lead to beneficial results for humans, can the same be said about nature–specifically underwater organisms?
A new study published in Nature Communications states just that, as scientists have found that the placement of underwater speakers near dead or dying coral reefs has shown to improve its chances of rejuvenation.
According to the study, the implementation of acoustic sound waves enrichment led to a “significant positive impact on juvenile fish recruitment” throughout the experiment. It’s worth noting that the speakers weren’t playing Phish or even Pigeons Playing Ping Pong‘s cover of “Under The Sea“, but rather the sounds of a healthy and vibrant coral reef system. This, in turn, attracted fish to the dying ecosystem, proving the researchers’ hypothesis to understand that juvenile and adult fish can be enticed to explore and potentially inhabit a dying reef by playing sounds associated with that of a vibrant living reef.
Researchers made sure to account for bias in the study, and therefore placed a dummy speaker in one reef and a speaker playing healthy reef sounds in another reef, in addition to a third reef with no speaker at all. After 40 days with and without the speakers, the acoustically enriched reef had double the fish compared to the control groups with the placebo speaker and no speaker at all.
Introducing fish into areas of decaying underwater vegetation is by no means the only step in the revitalization of the ocean’s reefs, but it is a critical first step in the process. The fish are necessary to clean the reef and clear new spaces for healthy corals to grow.
“If combined with habitat restoration and other conservation measures,” Professor Andy Radford said about the study, “Rebuilding fish communities in this manner might accelerate ecosystem recoveries.”
Ironically, the scientists behind the published experiments would likely have a fun time attempting to examine theories from University of Miami‘s marine biology professors, who recently claimed the high-powered audio coming from Ultra Music Festival every spring was causing “short-term, acute stress on [local] fish” in the Miami area.
We’ll leave this one up to the scientists.