Jan 13, 2022In The Community

The Sound of Reef Recovery

‘Reef songs’ are being played underwater to aid the recovery of reefs.

You read that correctly.

The sounds of thriving, healthy reefs are being recorded, then broadcast underwater in degraded reefs.


To attract young fish, of course.

The ‘reef songs’ are intended to draw young fish who can help regenerate resilient reefs.

Coral reefs rely on fish to thrive, and young fish are drawn by to healthy reefs by the sound of their bustling marine ecosystems.

At least that’s the basis for a theory being tested at the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef by Dr Mark Meekan and the Reef Song Project.

“What we expect to see is the reefs with baby fish will have corals growing much faster,” Dr Meekan said.

“The results of this project could inform reef managers with techniques that can enhance reef recovery and adaptation – not only here in Australia, but worldwide.”

The project explores the role of fish in building resilient reefs and will develop our understanding of reef recovery.

The theory will be explored with 60 ‘patch reefs’ – 1.5-metre square sample reefs that will provide a controlled environment for testing this sonic thesis.

This project is part of the Australian Coral Reef Resilience Initiative, a seven-year, AUD27 million research program, built on the long-term relationship between the Australian Institute of Marine Science and BHP. Learn more about the initiative here.

The question remains of course – if the sound of healthy reefs can draw fish, imagine what blasting Beyonce underwater could do…

We look forward to the follow-up research.