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Supplementary material from "Soundscape enrichment increases larval settlement rates for the brooding coral Porites astreoides"

Posted on 2024-02-09 - 12:38
Coral reefs, hubs of global biodiversity, are among the world’s most imperiled habitats. Healthy coral reefs are characterized by distinctive soundscapes; these environments are rich with sounds produced by fishes and marine invertebrates. Emerging evidence suggests these sounds can be used as orientation and settlement cues for larvae of reef animals. On degraded reefs, these cues may be reduced or absent, impeding the success of larval settlement which is an essential process for the maintenance and replenishment of reef populations. Here, in a field-based study, we evaluated the effects of enriching the soundscape of a degraded coral reef in order to increase coral settlement rates. Porites astreoides larvae were exposed to reef sounds using a custom solar-powered acoustic playback system. P. astreoides settled at significantly higher rates at the acoustically enriched sites, averaging 1.7x (up to maximum of 7x) more settlement compared to control reef sites without acoustic enrichment. Settlement rates decreased with distance from the speaker yet remained higher than control levels at least 30 m from the sound source. These results reveal that acoustic enrichment can facilitate coral larval settlement at reasonable distances, offering a promising new method for scientists, managers, and restoration practitioners to rebuild coral reefs.

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AUTHORS (6)

Nadège Aoki
Benjamin Weiss
Youenn Jézéquel
Weifeng Gordon Zhang
Amy Apprill
T. Aran Mooney

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