Coral reef fish larvae use smell, noise to find way back home | Pacific Beat

Coral reef fish larvae use smell, noise to find way back home

Coral reef fish larvae use smell, noise to find way back home

Updated 11 July 2014, 11:17 AEST

A newly published Australian study confirms that one third of coral reef fish larvae swim back to their natal reef, using their senses of smell and hearing to guide themselves.

Fish larvae can smell their reef and distinguish it from the smell of other reefs, says co-author of the study Professor Eric Wolanski from James Cook University in North Queensland. 

Once they get a dorsal bone fish larvae can actively swim towards their reef.  When  they get within a distance of  1,000 to 2,000 metres from it they can direct themselves with the sound of life on the reef, in particular the high pitched sound of the snapping shrimp.

Those which cannot make it back to the home reef can, if they survive, drift onto other reefs and settle there.

Professor Eric Wolanski says the findings show how Marine Protected Areas help replenish fish stocks.

Presenter: Isabelle Genoux

Speaker: Professor Eric Wolanski, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University

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