A concerning new study claims that the Great Barrier Reef is so quiet now that young fish may not be able to hear the way home.
Climate change is a big threat to one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, and a new study has discovered that it is causing another big threat to the reef. The surprising study found that the reef has become too quiet, which means that baby fish will have problems finding their way
The study, produced by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, involved comparing underwater acoustic recordings from reefs near Lizard Island between November 2012 and November 2016. They found that following a mass coral bleaching event and two cyclones, the damage had quieted the “coral reef orchestra.”
Young fish use snapping shrimp clips and chirps made by damselfish, for example, to find a good habitat in which to live. But there are now 40 percent fewer baby fish in this damaged ecosystem compared to a healthy one.
“Degraded coral reefs are far quieter than five years ago, and no longer sound like a suitable habitat to young fish searching for a place to live and breed, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA,” reads a statement from the University of Exeter. “Baby fish looking for a home can use noisy coral reef sounds including snapping shrimp clicks, damselfish chirps, and clownfish chattering to locate and select suitable habitat. But that “coral reef orchestra” has been quietened following recent cyclone and coral-bleaching damage on the Great Barrier Reef, raising fears that young fish may no longer hear their way home.”