full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Steve Simpson: How ocean noise destroys marine ecosystems

Unscramble the Blue Letters

To be a marine biologist is a wudonrefl thing. I get to live in two universes. When I go to bed, I don't know to which wrlod my dreams will take me. And when I'm underwater, I'm weightless, I can move in three dimensions. I can spend all day staring into the blue or marveling at the extraordinary, beautiful, mysterious, sometimes fearsome creatures that live in the sea. To be a human underwater is a completely different sensory experience. But it also strikes fear into me, not me as a huamn, but me as the fish that I spend my life trying to understand. Because the ocean can be a place full of danger and full of seemingly impossible challenges. Let me give you the example of the perilous life cycle of a coral reef fish. So we're all familiar with the bighrlty colored buuaefitl fish that live on croal reefs - cities of life full of cloor. But each year, these fish produce eggs, and the eggs hctah into tiny, almost mopsoiriccc larvae, and they spend several weeks at sea developing, only the size of a grain of rice. And after about two or three weeks, they're competent, raedy to return to a coral reef where hopefully, once they found the right reef, they can gradually mature and join their aludt community. Now, this seems paradoxical: you live in the perfect environment, and yet you send your orpsiffng out to sea. Why would that be so? I've spent my life trying to understand some of the processes that make this life cycle possible. In particular, how to fish find a reef? You're out at sea, at the mercy of ocean currents. How on earth, if you're the size of a garin of rice, do you find home? How do you csoohe the right place to live? How do you find a hinidg place? These are the challenges that I try to tackle with some of the research that I do. Now, how would you do it? If you were this tiny fish at sea, what what information would you want to try and make that life cycle possible? Well, we know that some fish are able to smell different components of their einemnvonrt. Some fish are able to look at the ptoiiosn of the sun in the sky, even the way sunlight shines through the clouds, perhaps even use celestial nighttime visual cues. Some fish even have a mtiangec sense. So is that enough information to get these fish home? Well certainly, one thing that they probably can't use is sound, right? 60 years ago, Jacques Cousteau brought into the living rooms of the world, for the first time, the wonder of our underwater world. He invented scuba, to be able to take cameras underwater and beam those images back to people around the world. It was a remarkable film in so many ways, except perhaps for the title. You see, Jacques Cousteau told us that the ocean was a silent world. But when we go into the ocean, we know that's not true. Without scuba, we hear whales sniigng. This is the love song of a humpback wlahe. And wlahes can ctcmouanime over tens of mleis, sometimes hundreds of miles, as they interact with each other. When we look on a coral reef, we realize it's not just whales and dolphins making sound; the fish can speak too. Fish produce popping, grunting, whooping, trumpeting sounds, and they do this to warn each other of predators, to be able to call each other over when they find food, and sometimes, particularly around the breeding season, to try and really impress each other. And so they have some anazimg songs within the world of fish. Here's some of the croaking sounds of sergeant majors, the whooping sound of an ambo-damselfish and the deep grunting love song, in this case of a cod. So fish use sound; it's essential to their lvies. And it's not even just the fish. When we start looking at the invertebrates that live on the reef too, we realize that lobsters can play their aenntnae like a fedlidr would play the violin, and snapping shrimp, that probably are no bieggr than the size of your thumb, with a claw no bigger than the size of your thumbnail, are able to produce one of the loudest underwater explosions every time they open their claw and push a bubble forwards into the water which implodes with a flash of light and an enormous bang. And all together, that creates a crackling sound that gives coral reefs its soundscape. So 18 years ago, I asked a question which, at the time, almost everybody I was working with on the Great Barrier Reef thought was crazy: is it possible that fish could use sound as a way of finding their way home? Now, to ask that qtioesun, my first approach was to take light traps - lhgit traps are bright boxes with cealr glass windows which have stils in them, like lteetr boxes - and when you shine a bright light utawderenr on the edge of the reef, you can intercept the larval fish, the baby fish, as they come back to the reef. Many fish, like moths, are attracted to light, and we can catch them in our traps and we can count them as they ruertn. But just to mix it up a little bit, I then hung underneath a trap a speaker. These are underwater speakers sold for synchronized-swimming tames to be able to keep beat underwater, but we use these speakers to playback recordings of coral reefs, to ask the question, "Are fish, at this tiny early stgae in their life, several weeks old, attracted to coral reef sound?" And sure enough, three months later, pnttuig these traps out night after night, we found that we cuhgat more than twice as many fish in our noisy tarps compared to the quiet ones. And then, to test whether this really was enough for a fish to choose where it wanted to make its home, we hung the saepkres over small piles of dead coral rubble, artificial reefs that we bulit on the sand flats. And sure enough, the fish came swimming in when we were playing our sound. So sound is clearly a cue that these fish were using to hear their way home. So I've spent the last 15 years listening to the ocean, trying to interpret what these fish can hear. What is it, what information is available that gives fish this seorsny experience that encourages them home? Now, as a marine biologist, one of the privileges is getting to play with some very big, very eenxvispe toys. And I'm just going to share two of mine with you tdaoy. The first is the good ship mfisaa, which we invented as a way of being able to sail a hydrophone, an underwater mcohpnrioe, over the reefs so that we could start to uadenntsrd the rich tapestry of sound that's made as you travel from different types of reef. And then the second one is my hydrosaur. This is a - you could see at the time that funding for marine bio acoustics was in its eraly stages. This is an inflatable dinosaur, but I was able to strap my microphone to this and leave it out overnight, and by doing that, we started to realize there were patterns in the sonpadscue. At dusk, all of the nocturnal fish, the pteraodrs, emerge from their caves, and they start calling to each other as they go looking for food. So we get a dusk chorus. And then at dawn, these fish disappear back into the reef but out come all the daytime fish, and they've got to reestablish their territories, much like birds would do in a froest, and so we get a dawn crhuos too. The reef is alive with noise, and that noise has patterns. And we've explored this by combining recordings with underwater syeurvs. And with our underwater surveys, we realize that we can hear whether there are coral there. We can hear which species live there. We realize that the fish at sea are doing much what we would do if we were moving to a new city: we'd perhaps get on the internet and do some resecrah into different suburbs that we might want to live in. We think fish can do the same thing by liinsnteg to their environment and conishog where they want to live. We now know that reefs all snuod different; they have signature sounds. Baby fish can select the best habitat for their kind by using sound. And amazingly, it turns out so can many other animals on coral reefs: crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters, even corals themselves. Here's a few places that we've worked. This is bilacaasg, which is a mirnae protected area in the Philippines. You can see it's full of life. It's hihlgy protected, there's no fhiinsg, and as a result, when we listen to it, it's a wonderful soundscape. You can hear the fish communicating, you can hear the sninappg srimhp. Now sadly, if we go three bays around the coernr to Bilang-Bilangan, we find a more typical Filipino reef. This is a reef that's been heavily overfished, so there are no herbivores to graze away at the algae, which now smothers the reef. You can even see craters from dynamite fishing, and when we lseitn to it ... you can just about hear it. So a tiny fish would have to pretty much swim into this reef before it found it. The next generation are not cnmoig home. We are changing the soundtrack of the ocean through overfishing and poor environmental protection. Let's go somewhere better: to the Great Barrier Reef. This is, for marine biologists, the benchmark. This is where we go to see what coral reefs once were like, what coral reefs can be like with really effective management, highly protected marine rreevess, long diaestcns away from cities, from ptoouliln, and as a result, beautiful bnitsulg underwater cities full of life. You can hear the Great Barrier Reef; it's a wonderful thing. And we've studied this for 15 years to make reference to the reefs around the world. At least, we have until three years ago, when trgadey struck. With painful predictability, we saw the water temperature starting to rise. Oceanographic conditions meant the water was staying in one lctiooan, and for three weeks, the Great Barrier Reef cooked. We saw the reef in front of our eyes dying. And when we go back to the Great beiarrr Reef now, we see in the northern part, where we do our research, 80% of it is dead. When we listen to that reef, it's 75% quieter. The snapping shrimp have gone. The complexity, the dviiestry of the sound is missing; it's become an acoustic desert. And so we realize, with climate cnghae, we are changing the soundtrack of the ocean. These, in some ways, are gradual changes - overfishing, poor management, climate change - but we also rielaze when we take our recordings on a day-to-day basis, we change the soundtrack of the ocaen by driving mtoor boats around. Millions of motor boats every day dvire around coral reef environments, with engines that rattle, with propellers that cavitate, creating bubbles which screech in the weatr as they burst. And we've rzlieead that their sound causes stress to all of the animals that experience it. And with stress comes poor decisions: the fish are no longer able to respond to predators, to be able to find food, to be able to court, to be able to successfully reproduce. This motorboat noise is a form of noise pollution that makes us realize we are cnhaigng the soundtrack of the ocean. Now, if this was the end of the talk, it would be a sorry tale, but as a scientist, I asked myself, "What is my role? Why am I trying to do the science that I'm doing? Is my duty simply to monitor, to measure, to assess how the world is changing and to report that? Or can we take that knowledge, and can we actually turn it into practical solutions?" So here's the sinpy chromis, wonderful fish, lives on the Great Barrier Reef in mooomguans pairs, a male and faleme lviing together. They lay their eggs in the reef, and their eggs hatch, and unusually, they bring their young through those first few weeks on the reef, they protect them, and you can see their baby fish out here, the larvae of the spiny comhirs. Now, if we monitor how well they do near to boating caenhlns, we realize that that mroabotot noise means the adults don't feed as well, they don't dfneed the larvae against predators in the same way, and the lrvaae fail to devolep, less larvae make it through. So, is that a real tragic story of how with nisoe pollution we're affecting reproduction? Or could it be that actually, if we turn it on its head, we realize our comparison is what happens if the boats aren't there: we see more rtiodoeupcrn, we see better baoihevr in the adults, more feeding, more defense against predators. Could we be talking here about a story of acoustic protection? If we go to the Great Barrier Reef and we play those sad recordings of the current state of the Great Barrier Reef, the fish no longer arrive in the numbers that we would hope for. If we play the rnricdoges of the gaert Barrier Reef as it used to be, the fish still come. So here, are we talking about a story of the loss of a sensory cue that's essential to close the loop of the life cycle? Or could this be a story about the paettniol value of acoustic enrichment? This is something that my gruop now are actively pursuing around the world, and we're hugely excited that there are tools with acoustics that we're realizing might be part of the solution. So we realize it's our gift to change the soundtrack of the ocean in this generation, but to change it for the better, not the wosre. With technology, we can improve the sound outputs of boat engines - modern engines are far quieter. With environmental protection, we can keep boats away from breeding grounds, from nursery grounds. We can give queit ntgihs to allow the fish to come in and settle. And with acoustic enrichment, we can potentially accelerate the recovery of habitats that have been worst hit. Thank you for listening. (Applause)

Open Cloze

To be a marine biologist is a _________ thing. I get to live in two universes. When I go to bed, I don't know to which _____ my dreams will take me. And when I'm underwater, I'm weightless, I can move in three dimensions. I can spend all day staring into the blue or marveling at the extraordinary, beautiful, mysterious, sometimes fearsome creatures that live in the sea. To be a human underwater is a completely different sensory experience. But it also strikes fear into me, not me as a _____, but me as the fish that I spend my life trying to understand. Because the ocean can be a place full of danger and full of seemingly impossible challenges. Let me give you the example of the perilous life cycle of a coral reef fish. So we're all familiar with the ________ colored _________ fish that live on _____ reefs - cities of life full of _____. But each year, these fish produce eggs, and the eggs _____ into tiny, almost ___________ larvae, and they spend several weeks at sea developing, only the size of a grain of rice. And after about two or three weeks, they're competent, _____ to return to a coral reef where hopefully, once they found the right reef, they can gradually mature and join their _____ community. Now, this seems paradoxical: you live in the perfect environment, and yet you send your _________ out to sea. Why would that be so? I've spent my life trying to understand some of the processes that make this life cycle possible. In particular, how to fish find a reef? You're out at sea, at the mercy of ocean currents. How on earth, if you're the size of a _____ of rice, do you find home? How do you ______ the right place to live? How do you find a ______ place? These are the challenges that I try to tackle with some of the research that I do. Now, how would you do it? If you were this tiny fish at sea, what what information would you want to try and make that life cycle possible? Well, we know that some fish are able to smell different components of their ___________. Some fish are able to look at the ________ of the sun in the sky, even the way sunlight shines through the clouds, perhaps even use celestial nighttime visual cues. Some fish even have a ________ sense. So is that enough information to get these fish home? Well certainly, one thing that they probably can't use is sound, right? 60 years ago, Jacques Cousteau brought into the living rooms of the world, for the first time, the wonder of our underwater world. He invented scuba, to be able to take cameras underwater and beam those images back to people around the world. It was a remarkable film in so many ways, except perhaps for the title. You see, Jacques Cousteau told us that the ocean was a silent world. But when we go into the ocean, we know that's not true. Without scuba, we hear whales _______. This is the love song of a humpback _____. And ______ can ___________ over tens of _____, sometimes hundreds of miles, as they interact with each other. When we look on a coral reef, we realize it's not just whales and dolphins making sound; the fish can speak too. Fish produce popping, grunting, whooping, trumpeting sounds, and they do this to warn each other of predators, to be able to call each other over when they find food, and sometimes, particularly around the breeding season, to try and really impress each other. And so they have some _______ songs within the world of fish. Here's some of the croaking sounds of sergeant majors, the whooping sound of an ambo-damselfish and the deep grunting love song, in this case of a cod. So fish use sound; it's essential to their _____. And it's not even just the fish. When we start looking at the invertebrates that live on the reef too, we realize that lobsters can play their ________ like a _______ would play the violin, and snapping shrimp, that probably are no ______ than the size of your thumb, with a claw no bigger than the size of your thumbnail, are able to produce one of the loudest underwater explosions every time they open their claw and push a bubble forwards into the water which implodes with a flash of light and an enormous bang. And all together, that creates a crackling sound that gives coral reefs its soundscape. So 18 years ago, I asked a question which, at the time, almost everybody I was working with on the Great Barrier Reef thought was crazy: is it possible that fish could use sound as a way of finding their way home? Now, to ask that ________, my first approach was to take light traps - _____ traps are bright boxes with _____ glass windows which have _____ in them, like ______ boxes - and when you shine a bright light __________ on the edge of the reef, you can intercept the larval fish, the baby fish, as they come back to the reef. Many fish, like moths, are attracted to light, and we can catch them in our traps and we can count them as they ______. But just to mix it up a little bit, I then hung underneath a trap a speaker. These are underwater speakers sold for synchronized-swimming _____ to be able to keep beat underwater, but we use these speakers to playback recordings of coral reefs, to ask the question, "Are fish, at this tiny early _____ in their life, several weeks old, attracted to coral reef sound?" And sure enough, three months later, _______ these traps out night after night, we found that we ______ more than twice as many fish in our noisy _____ compared to the quiet ones. And then, to test whether this really was enough for a fish to choose where it wanted to make its home, we hung the ________ over small piles of dead coral rubble, artificial reefs that we _____ on the sand flats. And sure enough, the fish came swimming in when we were playing our sound. So sound is clearly a cue that these fish were using to hear their way home. So I've spent the last 15 years listening to the ocean, trying to interpret what these fish can hear. What is it, what information is available that gives fish this _______ experience that encourages them home? Now, as a marine biologist, one of the privileges is getting to play with some very big, very _________ toys. And I'm just going to share two of mine with you _____. The first is the good ship ______, which we invented as a way of being able to sail a hydrophone, an underwater __________, over the reefs so that we could start to __________ the rich tapestry of sound that's made as you travel from different types of reef. And then the second one is my hydrosaur. This is a - you could see at the time that funding for marine bio acoustics was in its _____ stages. This is an inflatable dinosaur, but I was able to strap my microphone to this and leave it out overnight, and by doing that, we started to realize there were patterns in the __________. At dusk, all of the nocturnal fish, the _________, emerge from their caves, and they start calling to each other as they go looking for food. So we get a dusk chorus. And then at dawn, these fish disappear back into the reef but out come all the daytime fish, and they've got to reestablish their territories, much like birds would do in a ______, and so we get a dawn ______ too. The reef is alive with noise, and that noise has patterns. And we've explored this by combining recordings with underwater _______. And with our underwater surveys, we realize that we can hear whether there are coral there. We can hear which species live there. We realize that the fish at sea are doing much what we would do if we were moving to a new city: we'd perhaps get on the internet and do some ________ into different suburbs that we might want to live in. We think fish can do the same thing by _________ to their environment and ________ where they want to live. We now know that reefs all _____ different; they have signature sounds. Baby fish can select the best habitat for their kind by using sound. And amazingly, it turns out so can many other animals on coral reefs: crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters, even corals themselves. Here's a few places that we've worked. This is _________, which is a ______ protected area in the Philippines. You can see it's full of life. It's ______ protected, there's no _______, and as a result, when we listen to it, it's a wonderful soundscape. You can hear the fish communicating, you can hear the ________ ______. Now sadly, if we go three bays around the ______ to Bilang-Bilangan, we find a more typical Filipino reef. This is a reef that's been heavily overfished, so there are no herbivores to graze away at the algae, which now smothers the reef. You can even see craters from dynamite fishing, and when we ______ to it ... you can just about hear it. So a tiny fish would have to pretty much swim into this reef before it found it. The next generation are not ______ home. We are changing the soundtrack of the ocean through overfishing and poor environmental protection. Let's go somewhere better: to the Great Barrier Reef. This is, for marine biologists, the benchmark. This is where we go to see what coral reefs once were like, what coral reefs can be like with really effective management, highly protected marine ________, long _________ away from cities, from _________, and as a result, beautiful ________ underwater cities full of life. You can hear the Great Barrier Reef; it's a wonderful thing. And we've studied this for 15 years to make reference to the reefs around the world. At least, we have until three years ago, when _______ struck. With painful predictability, we saw the water temperature starting to rise. Oceanographic conditions meant the water was staying in one ________, and for three weeks, the Great Barrier Reef cooked. We saw the reef in front of our eyes dying. And when we go back to the Great _______ Reef now, we see in the northern part, where we do our research, 80% of it is dead. When we listen to that reef, it's 75% quieter. The snapping shrimp have gone. The complexity, the _________ of the sound is missing; it's become an acoustic desert. And so we realize, with climate ______, we are changing the soundtrack of the ocean. These, in some ways, are gradual changes - overfishing, poor management, climate change - but we also _______ when we take our recordings on a day-to-day basis, we change the soundtrack of the _____ by driving _____ boats around. Millions of motor boats every day _____ around coral reef environments, with engines that rattle, with propellers that cavitate, creating bubbles which screech in the _____ as they burst. And we've ________ that their sound causes stress to all of the animals that experience it. And with stress comes poor decisions: the fish are no longer able to respond to predators, to be able to find food, to be able to court, to be able to successfully reproduce. This motorboat noise is a form of noise pollution that makes us realize we are ________ the soundtrack of the ocean. Now, if this was the end of the talk, it would be a sorry tale, but as a scientist, I asked myself, "What is my role? Why am I trying to do the science that I'm doing? Is my duty simply to monitor, to measure, to assess how the world is changing and to report that? Or can we take that knowledge, and can we actually turn it into practical solutions?" So here's the _____ chromis, wonderful fish, lives on the Great Barrier Reef in __________ pairs, a male and ______ ______ together. They lay their eggs in the reef, and their eggs hatch, and unusually, they bring their young through those first few weeks on the reef, they protect them, and you can see their baby fish out here, the larvae of the spiny _______. Now, if we monitor how well they do near to boating ________, we realize that that _________ noise means the adults don't feed as well, they don't ______ the larvae against predators in the same way, and the ______ fail to _______, less larvae make it through. So, is that a real tragic story of how with _____ pollution we're affecting reproduction? Or could it be that actually, if we turn it on its head, we realize our comparison is what happens if the boats aren't there: we see more ____________, we see better ________ in the adults, more feeding, more defense against predators. Could we be talking here about a story of acoustic protection? If we go to the Great Barrier Reef and we play those sad recordings of the current state of the Great Barrier Reef, the fish no longer arrive in the numbers that we would hope for. If we play the __________ of the _____ Barrier Reef as it used to be, the fish still come. So here, are we talking about a story of the loss of a sensory cue that's essential to close the loop of the life cycle? Or could this be a story about the _________ value of acoustic enrichment? This is something that my _____ now are actively pursuing around the world, and we're hugely excited that there are tools with acoustics that we're realizing might be part of the solution. So we realize it's our gift to change the soundtrack of the ocean in this generation, but to change it for the better, not the _____. With technology, we can improve the sound outputs of boat engines - modern engines are far quieter. With environmental protection, we can keep boats away from breeding grounds, from nursery grounds. We can give _____ ______ to allow the fish to come in and settle. And with acoustic enrichment, we can potentially accelerate the recovery of habitats that have been worst hit. Thank you for listening. (Applause)

Solution

  1. coral
  2. water
  3. beautiful
  4. motorboat
  5. group
  6. position
  7. drive
  8. monogamous
  9. amazing
  10. miles
  11. reproduction
  12. caught
  13. today
  14. potential
  15. human
  16. antennae
  17. lives
  18. realized
  19. barrier
  20. magnetic
  21. distances
  22. chorus
  23. clear
  24. coming
  25. tragedy
  26. offspring
  27. diversity
  28. wonderful
  29. quiet
  30. worse
  31. soundscape
  32. develop
  33. chromis
  34. pollution
  35. noise
  36. behavior
  37. female
  38. sensory
  39. putting
  40. hiding
  41. balicasag
  42. traps
  43. grain
  44. larvae
  45. marine
  46. hatch
  47. early
  48. changing
  49. research
  50. microphone
  51. realize
  52. light
  53. expensive
  54. letter
  55. predators
  56. return
  57. underwater
  58. singing
  59. nights
  60. microscopic
  61. great
  62. spiny
  63. location
  64. brightly
  65. ocean
  66. recordings
  67. shrimp
  68. defend
  69. snapping
  70. color
  71. living
  72. ready
  73. whale
  74. adult
  75. bigger
  76. listen
  77. choosing
  78. communicate
  79. motor
  80. fiddler
  81. teams
  82. sound
  83. environment
  84. built
  85. world
  86. slits
  87. bustling
  88. corner
  89. change
  90. surveys
  91. channels
  92. masifa
  93. listening
  94. forest
  95. fishing
  96. whales
  97. stage
  98. choose
  99. understand
  100. question
  101. highly
  102. reserves
  103. speakers

Original Text

To be a marine biologist is a wonderful thing. I get to live in two universes. When I go to bed, I don't know to which world my dreams will take me. And when I'm underwater, I'm weightless, I can move in three dimensions. I can spend all day staring into the blue or marveling at the extraordinary, beautiful, mysterious, sometimes fearsome creatures that live in the sea. To be a human underwater is a completely different sensory experience. But it also strikes fear into me, not me as a human, but me as the fish that I spend my life trying to understand. Because the ocean can be a place full of danger and full of seemingly impossible challenges. Let me give you the example of the perilous life cycle of a coral reef fish. So we're all familiar with the brightly colored beautiful fish that live on coral reefs - cities of life full of color. But each year, these fish produce eggs, and the eggs hatch into tiny, almost microscopic larvae, and they spend several weeks at sea developing, only the size of a grain of rice. And after about two or three weeks, they're competent, ready to return to a coral reef where hopefully, once they found the right reef, they can gradually mature and join their adult community. Now, this seems paradoxical: you live in the perfect environment, and yet you send your offspring out to sea. Why would that be so? I've spent my life trying to understand some of the processes that make this life cycle possible. In particular, how to fish find a reef? You're out at sea, at the mercy of ocean currents. How on earth, if you're the size of a grain of rice, do you find home? How do you choose the right place to live? How do you find a hiding place? These are the challenges that I try to tackle with some of the research that I do. Now, how would you do it? If you were this tiny fish at sea, what what information would you want to try and make that life cycle possible? Well, we know that some fish are able to smell different components of their environment. Some fish are able to look at the position of the sun in the sky, even the way sunlight shines through the clouds, perhaps even use celestial nighttime visual cues. Some fish even have a magnetic sense. So is that enough information to get these fish home? Well certainly, one thing that they probably can't use is sound, right? 60 years ago, Jacques Cousteau brought into the living rooms of the world, for the first time, the wonder of our underwater world. He invented scuba, to be able to take cameras underwater and beam those images back to people around the world. It was a remarkable film in so many ways, except perhaps for the title. You see, Jacques Cousteau told us that the ocean was a silent world. But when we go into the ocean, we know that's not true. Without scuba, we hear whales singing. This is the love song of a humpback whale. And whales can communicate over tens of miles, sometimes hundreds of miles, as they interact with each other. When we look on a coral reef, we realize it's not just whales and dolphins making sound; the fish can speak too. Fish produce popping, grunting, whooping, trumpeting sounds, and they do this to warn each other of predators, to be able to call each other over when they find food, and sometimes, particularly around the breeding season, to try and really impress each other. And so they have some amazing songs within the world of fish. Here's some of the croaking sounds of sergeant majors, the whooping sound of an ambo-damselfish and the deep grunting love song, in this case of a cod. So fish use sound; it's essential to their lives. And it's not even just the fish. When we start looking at the invertebrates that live on the reef too, we realize that lobsters can play their antennae like a fiddler would play the violin, and snapping shrimp, that probably are no bigger than the size of your thumb, with a claw no bigger than the size of your thumbnail, are able to produce one of the loudest underwater explosions every time they open their claw and push a bubble forwards into the water which implodes with a flash of light and an enormous bang. And all together, that creates a crackling sound that gives coral reefs its soundscape. So 18 years ago, I asked a question which, at the time, almost everybody I was working with on the Great Barrier Reef thought was crazy: is it possible that fish could use sound as a way of finding their way home? Now, to ask that question, my first approach was to take light traps - light traps are bright boxes with clear glass windows which have slits in them, like letter boxes - and when you shine a bright light underwater on the edge of the reef, you can intercept the larval fish, the baby fish, as they come back to the reef. Many fish, like moths, are attracted to light, and we can catch them in our traps and we can count them as they return. But just to mix it up a little bit, I then hung underneath a trap a speaker. These are underwater speakers sold for synchronized-swimming teams to be able to keep beat underwater, but we use these speakers to playback recordings of coral reefs, to ask the question, "Are fish, at this tiny early stage in their life, several weeks old, attracted to coral reef sound?" And sure enough, three months later, putting these traps out night after night, we found that we caught more than twice as many fish in our noisy traps compared to the quiet ones. And then, to test whether this really was enough for a fish to choose where it wanted to make its home, we hung the speakers over small piles of dead coral rubble, artificial reefs that we built on the sand flats. And sure enough, the fish came swimming in when we were playing our sound. So sound is clearly a cue that these fish were using to hear their way home. So I've spent the last 15 years listening to the ocean, trying to interpret what these fish can hear. What is it, what information is available that gives fish this sensory experience that encourages them home? Now, as a marine biologist, one of the privileges is getting to play with some very big, very expensive toys. And I'm just going to share two of mine with you today. The first is the good ship Masifa, which we invented as a way of being able to sail a hydrophone, an underwater microphone, over the reefs so that we could start to understand the rich tapestry of sound that's made as you travel from different types of reef. And then the second one is my hydrosaur. This is a - you could see at the time that funding for marine bio acoustics was in its early stages. This is an inflatable dinosaur, but I was able to strap my microphone to this and leave it out overnight, and by doing that, we started to realize there were patterns in the soundscape. At dusk, all of the nocturnal fish, the predators, emerge from their caves, and they start calling to each other as they go looking for food. So we get a dusk chorus. And then at dawn, these fish disappear back into the reef but out come all the daytime fish, and they've got to reestablish their territories, much like birds would do in a forest, and so we get a dawn chorus too. The reef is alive with noise, and that noise has patterns. And we've explored this by combining recordings with underwater surveys. And with our underwater surveys, we realize that we can hear whether there are coral there. We can hear which species live there. We realize that the fish at sea are doing much what we would do if we were moving to a new city: we'd perhaps get on the internet and do some research into different suburbs that we might want to live in. We think fish can do the same thing by listening to their environment and choosing where they want to live. We now know that reefs all sound different; they have signature sounds. Baby fish can select the best habitat for their kind by using sound. And amazingly, it turns out so can many other animals on coral reefs: crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters, even corals themselves. Here's a few places that we've worked. This is Balicasag, which is a marine protected area in the Philippines. You can see it's full of life. It's highly protected, there's no fishing, and as a result, when we listen to it, it's a wonderful soundscape. You can hear the fish communicating, you can hear the snapping shrimp. Now sadly, if we go three bays around the corner to Bilang-Bilangan, we find a more typical Filipino reef. This is a reef that's been heavily overfished, so there are no herbivores to graze away at the algae, which now smothers the reef. You can even see craters from dynamite fishing, and when we listen to it ... you can just about hear it. So a tiny fish would have to pretty much swim into this reef before it found it. The next generation are not coming home. We are changing the soundtrack of the ocean through overfishing and poor environmental protection. Let's go somewhere better: to the Great Barrier Reef. This is, for marine biologists, the benchmark. This is where we go to see what coral reefs once were like, what coral reefs can be like with really effective management, highly protected marine reserves, long distances away from cities, from pollution, and as a result, beautiful bustling underwater cities full of life. You can hear the Great Barrier Reef; it's a wonderful thing. And we've studied this for 15 years to make reference to the reefs around the world. At least, we have until three years ago, when tragedy struck. With painful predictability, we saw the water temperature starting to rise. Oceanographic conditions meant the water was staying in one location, and for three weeks, the Great Barrier Reef cooked. We saw the reef in front of our eyes dying. And when we go back to the Great Barrier Reef now, we see in the northern part, where we do our research, 80% of it is dead. When we listen to that reef, it's 75% quieter. The snapping shrimp have gone. The complexity, the diversity of the sound is missing; it's become an acoustic desert. And so we realize, with climate change, we are changing the soundtrack of the ocean. These, in some ways, are gradual changes - overfishing, poor management, climate change - but we also realize when we take our recordings on a day-to-day basis, we change the soundtrack of the ocean by driving motor boats around. Millions of motor boats every day drive around coral reef environments, with engines that rattle, with propellers that cavitate, creating bubbles which screech in the water as they burst. And we've realized that their sound causes stress to all of the animals that experience it. And with stress comes poor decisions: the fish are no longer able to respond to predators, to be able to find food, to be able to court, to be able to successfully reproduce. This motorboat noise is a form of noise pollution that makes us realize we are changing the soundtrack of the ocean. Now, if this was the end of the talk, it would be a sorry tale, but as a scientist, I asked myself, "What is my role? Why am I trying to do the science that I'm doing? Is my duty simply to monitor, to measure, to assess how the world is changing and to report that? Or can we take that knowledge, and can we actually turn it into practical solutions?" So here's the spiny chromis, wonderful fish, lives on the Great Barrier Reef in monogamous pairs, a male and female living together. They lay their eggs in the reef, and their eggs hatch, and unusually, they bring their young through those first few weeks on the reef, they protect them, and you can see their baby fish out here, the larvae of the spiny chromis. Now, if we monitor how well they do near to boating channels, we realize that that motorboat noise means the adults don't feed as well, they don't defend the larvae against predators in the same way, and the larvae fail to develop, less larvae make it through. So, is that a real tragic story of how with noise pollution we're affecting reproduction? Or could it be that actually, if we turn it on its head, we realize our comparison is what happens if the boats aren't there: we see more reproduction, we see better behavior in the adults, more feeding, more defense against predators. Could we be talking here about a story of acoustic protection? If we go to the Great Barrier Reef and we play those sad recordings of the current state of the Great Barrier Reef, the fish no longer arrive in the numbers that we would hope for. If we play the recordings of the Great Barrier Reef as it used to be, the fish still come. So here, are we talking about a story of the loss of a sensory cue that's essential to close the loop of the life cycle? Or could this be a story about the potential value of acoustic enrichment? This is something that my group now are actively pursuing around the world, and we're hugely excited that there are tools with acoustics that we're realizing might be part of the solution. So we realize it's our gift to change the soundtrack of the ocean in this generation, but to change it for the better, not the worse. With technology, we can improve the sound outputs of boat engines - modern engines are far quieter. With environmental protection, we can keep boats away from breeding grounds, from nursery grounds. We can give quiet nights to allow the fish to come in and settle. And with acoustic enrichment, we can potentially accelerate the recovery of habitats that have been worst hit. Thank you for listening. (Applause)

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
great barrier 9
barrier reef 7
coral reef 4
coral reefs 4
life cycle 3
sensory experience 2
fish produce 2
tiny fish 2
jacques cousteau 2
light traps 2
baby fish 2
snapping shrimp 2
motor boats 2
motorboat noise 2
noise pollution 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
great barrier reef 7

Important Words

  1. accelerate
  2. acoustic
  3. acoustics
  4. actively
  5. adult
  6. adults
  7. affecting
  8. algae
  9. alive
  10. amazing
  11. amazingly
  12. animals
  13. antennae
  14. applause
  15. approach
  16. area
  17. arrive
  18. artificial
  19. asked
  20. assess
  21. attracted
  22. baby
  23. balicasag
  24. bang
  25. barrier
  26. basis
  27. bays
  28. beam
  29. beat
  30. beautiful
  31. bed
  32. behavior
  33. benchmark
  34. big
  35. bigger
  36. bio
  37. biologist
  38. biologists
  39. birds
  40. bit
  41. blue
  42. boat
  43. boating
  44. boats
  45. boxes
  46. breeding
  47. bright
  48. brightly
  49. bring
  50. brought
  51. bubble
  52. bubbles
  53. built
  54. burst
  55. bustling
  56. call
  57. calling
  58. cameras
  59. case
  60. catch
  61. caught
  62. caves
  63. cavitate
  64. celestial
  65. challenges
  66. change
  67. changing
  68. channels
  69. choose
  70. choosing
  71. chorus
  72. chromis
  73. cities
  74. clams
  75. claw
  76. clear
  77. climate
  78. close
  79. clouds
  80. cod
  81. color
  82. colored
  83. combining
  84. coming
  85. communicate
  86. communicating
  87. community
  88. compared
  89. comparison
  90. competent
  91. completely
  92. complexity
  93. components
  94. conditions
  95. cooked
  96. coral
  97. corals
  98. corner
  99. count
  100. court
  101. cousteau
  102. crabs
  103. crackling
  104. craters
  105. creates
  106. creating
  107. creatures
  108. croaking
  109. cue
  110. cues
  111. current
  112. currents
  113. cycle
  114. danger
  115. dawn
  116. day
  117. daytime
  118. dead
  119. deep
  120. defend
  121. defense
  122. desert
  123. develop
  124. developing
  125. dimensions
  126. dinosaur
  127. disappear
  128. distances
  129. diversity
  130. dolphins
  131. dreams
  132. drive
  133. driving
  134. dusk
  135. duty
  136. dying
  137. dynamite
  138. early
  139. earth
  140. edge
  141. effective
  142. eggs
  143. emerge
  144. encourages
  145. engines
  146. enormous
  147. enrichment
  148. environment
  149. environmental
  150. environments
  151. essential
  152. excited
  153. expensive
  154. experience
  155. explored
  156. explosions
  157. extraordinary
  158. eyes
  159. fail
  160. familiar
  161. fear
  162. fearsome
  163. feed
  164. feeding
  165. female
  166. fiddler
  167. filipino
  168. film
  169. find
  170. finding
  171. fish
  172. fishing
  173. flash
  174. flats
  175. food
  176. forest
  177. form
  178. forwards
  179. front
  180. full
  181. funding
  182. generation
  183. gift
  184. give
  185. glass
  186. good
  187. gradual
  188. gradually
  189. grain
  190. graze
  191. great
  192. grounds
  193. group
  194. grunting
  195. habitat
  196. habitats
  197. hatch
  198. head
  199. hear
  200. heavily
  201. herbivores
  202. hiding
  203. highly
  204. hit
  205. home
  206. hope
  207. hugely
  208. human
  209. humpback
  210. hundreds
  211. hung
  212. hydrophone
  213. hydrosaur
  214. images
  215. implodes
  216. impossible
  217. impress
  218. improve
  219. inflatable
  220. information
  221. interact
  222. intercept
  223. internet
  224. interpret
  225. invented
  226. invertebrates
  227. jacques
  228. join
  229. kind
  230. knowledge
  231. larvae
  232. larval
  233. lay
  234. leave
  235. letter
  236. life
  237. light
  238. listen
  239. listening
  240. live
  241. lives
  242. living
  243. lobsters
  244. location
  245. long
  246. longer
  247. loop
  248. loss
  249. loudest
  250. love
  251. magnetic
  252. majors
  253. making
  254. male
  255. management
  256. marine
  257. marveling
  258. masifa
  259. mature
  260. means
  261. meant
  262. measure
  263. mercy
  264. microphone
  265. microscopic
  266. miles
  267. millions
  268. mix
  269. modern
  270. monitor
  271. monogamous
  272. months
  273. moths
  274. motor
  275. motorboat
  276. move
  277. moving
  278. mysterious
  279. night
  280. nights
  281. nighttime
  282. nocturnal
  283. noise
  284. noisy
  285. northern
  286. numbers
  287. nursery
  288. ocean
  289. oceanographic
  290. offspring
  291. open
  292. outputs
  293. overfished
  294. overfishing
  295. overnight
  296. oysters
  297. painful
  298. pairs
  299. part
  300. patterns
  301. people
  302. perfect
  303. perilous
  304. philippines
  305. piles
  306. place
  307. places
  308. play
  309. playback
  310. playing
  311. pollution
  312. poor
  313. popping
  314. position
  315. potential
  316. potentially
  317. practical
  318. predators
  319. predictability
  320. pretty
  321. privileges
  322. processes
  323. produce
  324. propellers
  325. protect
  326. protected
  327. protection
  328. pursuing
  329. push
  330. putting
  331. question
  332. quiet
  333. quieter
  334. rattle
  335. ready
  336. real
  337. realize
  338. realized
  339. realizing
  340. recordings
  341. recovery
  342. reef
  343. reefs
  344. reestablish
  345. reference
  346. remarkable
  347. report
  348. reproduce
  349. reproduction
  350. research
  351. reserves
  352. respond
  353. result
  354. return
  355. rice
  356. rich
  357. rise
  358. role
  359. rooms
  360. rubble
  361. sad
  362. sadly
  363. sail
  364. sand
  365. science
  366. scientist
  367. screech
  368. scuba
  369. sea
  370. season
  371. seemingly
  372. select
  373. send
  374. sense
  375. sensory
  376. sergeant
  377. settle
  378. share
  379. shine
  380. shines
  381. ship
  382. shrimp
  383. signature
  384. silent
  385. simply
  386. singing
  387. size
  388. sky
  389. slits
  390. small
  391. smell
  392. smothers
  393. snapping
  394. sold
  395. solution
  396. solutions
  397. song
  398. songs
  399. sound
  400. sounds
  401. soundscape
  402. soundtrack
  403. speak
  404. speaker
  405. speakers
  406. species
  407. spend
  408. spent
  409. spiny
  410. stage
  411. stages
  412. staring
  413. start
  414. started
  415. starting
  416. state
  417. staying
  418. story
  419. strap
  420. stress
  421. strikes
  422. struck
  423. studied
  424. suburbs
  425. successfully
  426. sun
  427. sunlight
  428. surveys
  429. swim
  430. swimming
  431. tackle
  432. tale
  433. talk
  434. talking
  435. tapestry
  436. teams
  437. technology
  438. temperature
  439. tens
  440. territories
  441. test
  442. thought
  443. thumb
  444. thumbnail
  445. time
  446. tiny
  447. title
  448. today
  449. told
  450. tools
  451. toys
  452. tragedy
  453. tragic
  454. trap
  455. traps
  456. travel
  457. true
  458. trumpeting
  459. turn
  460. turns
  461. types
  462. typical
  463. understand
  464. underwater
  465. universes
  466. unusually
  467. violin
  468. visual
  469. wanted
  470. warn
  471. water
  472. ways
  473. weeks
  474. weightless
  475. whale
  476. whales
  477. whooping
  478. windows
  479. wonderful
  480. worked
  481. working
  482. world
  483. worse
  484. worst
  485. year
  486. years
  487. young