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AusOcean out on the boat with nine news film crew

IN THE NEWS

This collection represents our journey and impact as covered by various media outlets. Stay informed about our latest advancements and the ways we're making a difference, as seen through the eyes of the press.

This collaboration between The University of Adelaide and various partners has successfully revived an extinct oyster reef ecosystem, enhancing fish production and water quality. By utilising the discovery that baby oysters are attracted to certain underwater sounds, the team employed innovative sound technology to guide oysters to newly constructed reefs. This groundbreaking approach, using low-cost speakers to play oyster-attracting sounds, significantly accelerated reef restoration. This pioneering work has led to a remarkable scientific revelation: marine life can be profoundly influenced by sound, impacting their entire life cycles within naturally healthy soundscapes.

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"Our speakers are like the Google Maps for oysters in the ocean"

Supported Research

Soundscape enrichment enhances recruitment and habitat building on new oyster reef restorations. 

Marine soundscapes provide important navigational cues to dispersing larvae in search of suitable habitat. Yet, widespread habitat loss has degraded marine soundscapes and their functional role in recruitment. Habitat restoration efforts can provide suitable substrate for habitat regeneration, such as constructing reefs to facilitate recruitment and habitat growth by oysters, but typically occur where soundscapes are degraded and recruitment is limited. Enhancing marine soundscapes on newly constructed reefs using speaker technology may ensure sufficient recruitment to establish a trajectory of recovery for the desired habitat.

Oyster larvae swim along gradients of sound

Marine soundscapes provide navigational information for dispersing organisms, but with wide-scale habitat loss, these soundscapes are becoming muted. Consequently, dispersing larvae that use soundscapes for navigation may be lost at sea, limiting the success of restoration efforts that rely upon the recruitment of dispersing organisms to restore habitat. Where limited larval supply constrains restoration efforts, using speakers to create gradients in healthy soundscapes could provide the navigational cue that attract larvae and enhances recruitment.

Enriching Marine Soundscapes to Restore Australia's Lost Native Oyster Reefs

Australia’s native flat oyster reefs (Ostrea angasi) are considered functionally extinct, which has prompted ambitious restoration efforts that aim to revive this lost ecosystem and deliver ecological and economic returns on investment. However, many of these restorations are occurring in systems where oysters are recruitment limited and where larvae must compete with opportunistic species to establish a foothold on reefs. These challenges combine to limit the success of restorations. Consequently, there are calls for novel solutions that can overcome these limitations and boost the recovery process. Healthy, habitat-related soundscapes can provide navigational information for dispersing life-stages. However, these biological signals are being muted by the loss of habitat from which they originate and masked by rising anthropogenic noise.

Featured Research

Connecting to the oceans: supporting ocean literacy and public engagement

Improved public understanding of the ocean and the importance of sustainable ocean use, or ocean literacy, is essential for achieving global commitments to sustainable development by 2030 and beyond. However, growing human populations (particularly in mega-cities), urbanisation and socio-economic disparity threaten opportunities for people to engage and connect directly with ocean environments. Thus, a major challenge in engaging the whole of society in achieving ocean sustainability by 2030 is to develop strategies to improve societal connections to the ocean.

Scientists observe the ocean’s complex and interwoven physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes to understand the numerous ways in which the ocean sustains life and provides benefits to society, and to forecast events that affect humankind and the planet. They use a range of instruments to gather data, from simple nets and thermometers to sophisticated sensors aboard autonomous vehicles that transmit data back to laboratories nearly instantaneously.

A new species of pipefish, Stigmatopora harastiisp. nov., is described based on the male holotype and two female paratypes, 136.3–145.5 mm SL, collected from red algae (sp.?) at 12 meters depth in Botany Bay, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The new taxon shares morphological synapomorphies with the previously described members of Stigmatopora, including principle body ridges, fin placement, slender tail, and absence of a caudal fin.

Additional News

2024

  • Supporting Aussie kids engage with science, 8 May 2024

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