Acoustic enrichment can enhance fish community development on degraded coral reef habitat

Gordon, Timothy A. C., Radford, Andrew N., Davidson, Isla K., Barnes, Kasey, McCloskey, Kieran, Nedelec, Sophie L., Meekan, Mark G., McCormick, Mark I., and Simpson, Stephen D. (2019) Acoustic enrichment can enhance fish community development on degraded coral reef habitat. Nature Communications, 10. 5414.

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Abstract

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.

Item ID: 61219
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Keywords: Conservation biology, Marine biology, Restoration ecology, Tropical ecology
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Australian Research Council (ARC), University of Exeter
Projects and Grants: NERC Grant NE/P001572/1, NERC-AIMS GW4+ Studentship NE/L002434, ARC Discovery Grant DP170103372
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 08:01
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
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