Researchers will test the technique alongside coral re-seeding projects to investigate if there’s a relationship between coral and fish reproduction and their survival.
“We know from a proof-of-concept study that soundscapes of healthy reefs are settlement cues,” Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) chief executive Paul Hardisty said.
“Fish choose healthy-sounding reefs over degraded reefs.
“It will be a global game-changer.”
The method will also be trialled on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, where scientists are also trying to speed up the natural process of tropical reef growth and recovery.
Hardisty said the research could lay the foundation for a new ecosystem-based approach to influence the size of future adult coral populations and cover on reefs.
The five-year program will bring together researchers from the two World Heritage sites to understand whether attracting more fish to a reef positively influences coral growth after fertilisation.
It’s hoped the methods will help improve the resilience of coral reefs and reduce the high mortality rate during their first year of life.
It could also help mitigate the effects of climate change and warming ocean temperatures.
Hardisty said the increasing frequency, severity and duration of events that disturb tropical reef health was leaving corals with less time to recover.
“Marine science, along with reduced emissions, can play a significant role to protect Australian coral reefs from the escalating effects of climate change,” he said.
The $27 million project is jointly funded by BHP.
AIMS is Australia’s tropical marine research agency.
It undertakes research that will help governments, industry and the wider community make informed decisions about the management of the nation’s marine environments.