Embracing science to save the ocean

We are now in a time where what we call ‘science’ is both a help and a hinderance. The notion of what scientists say as gospel is no longer the case, people are now more skeptical than ever. And with the world of information at our fingertips, anybody can find virtually anything any time they like. While eyebrows may be raised at some of the things that the all-knowing world of science tells us, we also have to pay our attention to the good things that the world of science has achieved. That means embracing technology for the good and embracing some unorthodox methods and that is exactly what marine biologists are doing to save the oceans coral reefs

Coral reefs, the world over, have suffered from the devastating effects of climate change. Sea temperatures are rising and have resulted in many reefs virtually dying and fish relocating to other reefs as source of food and shelter. The thing about refs and fish is that they exist in a delicate symbiosis- if one element is out of whack it sets off a chain reaction of events, resulting in what we have today: a dying Great Barrier Reef.

Marine biologists have tried several ways to mitigate the global death of our coral reefs, including establishing reef ‘nurseries’ to cultivate and breed coral, and also creating coral hybrids which can withstand higher sea temperatures. What is most interesting is, that by going back to basics and using nature as its inspiration, a very clever “simple stupid” method is being used to revive dead reefs.

Coral reefs emit a unique cacophony of sounds created by the creatures which live and feed within and around the reef; clicks and pops, swooshes and whumps. Using the symphony of the sea, marine biologists have placed underwater speakers around the reefs which play this unique reef cacophony in a bid to lure the sea life back there. As soon as the interest and activity around the reef is revived, it will set off a positive ripple effect and life will begin again. It started off as a short-term experiment with a simple objective: get the fish back to the reef. The speakers were placed in a dead patch of reef and played the recordings taken from healthy living reefs.

Fortunately, the results were positive. It was observed that twice the number of fish came to the site of the dead reef where the ‘music’ was being played compared to the areas where no sounds were played. It shows that, with all the information we could ever want and technology to allow us to observe, learn and recreate we may be able to find a way to save our oceans.

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