Research Tuesdays Lecture Series: Reefs Reawakened

Oyster reefs across Australia—once bustling underwater metropolises and vital pillars of our marine ecosystems—are now ghost towns. In the past 200 years since colonisation, they’ve been pushed to near extinction, with over 99% completely degraded.

Research Tuesday - Reefs reawakened

But hope isn't lost. Thanks to University of Adelaide researchers, there's a real opportunity for a comeback story on our coastlines. In an inventive experiment, our ecologists deployed speakers underwater, broadcasting the hustle and bustle of healthy reef sounds to imitate nature. Their sonic experiment yielded astonishing results. By transforming the ocean floor into a lively underwater symphony, they managed to draw 17,000 extra oysters per square meter. These new recruits are now busy growing, cleaning the water, and creating complex habitats for other marine life to flourish.Seeing this success, the research team believes underwater soundscapes could be a cost-effective tool to help accelerate oyster habitat restoration. Is this the golden ticket we need to bring our underwater worlds back to life? Watch to find out more.

Watch the video

Recorded at the Research Tuesdays public lecture series event in July 2023.

The presenter

Dr Dominic McAfee is an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant-funded researcher in theSchool of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide. In 2020 his research with national colleagues won the prestigious Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research. In2021 he became a South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award winner. Professor Sean Connell co-leads the Food and Water Futures Program at the University of Adelaide. He plays a pivotal role in advising governmental decision-makers on policies essential for the preservation of marine life in Australia. Sean’s research has inspired the restoration of 1.1 kilometres of oyster reef and set in motion new infrastructure to improve coastal water quality.

Research Tuesdays

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