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Photosynthesis by marine algae produces sound, contributing to the daytime soundscape on coral reefs
Freeman, S.E.; Freeman, L.A.; Giorli, G.; Haas, A.F. (2018). Photosynthesis by marine algae produces sound, contributing to the daytime soundscape on coral reefs. PLoS One 13(10): e0201766.

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In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203; e-ISSN 1932-6203, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Freeman, S.E.
  • Freeman, L.A.
  • Giorli, G.
  • Haas, A.F., meer

    We have observed that marine macroalgae produce sound during photosynthesis. Theresultant soundscapes correlate with benthic macroalgal cover across shallow Hawaiiancoral reefs during the day, despite the presence of other biological noise. Likely ubiquitousbut previously overlooked, this source of ambient biological noise in the coastal ocean isdriven by local supersaturation of oxygen near the surface of macroalgal filaments, and theresultant formation and release of oxygen-containing bubbles into the water column. Duringrelease, relaxation of the bubble to a spherical shape creates a monopole sound source that`rings' at the Minnaert frequency. Many such bubbles create a large, distributed soundsource over the sea floor. Reef soundscapes contain vast quantities of biological information,making passive acoustic ecosystem evaluation a tantalizing prospect if the sources areknown. Our observations introduce the possibility of a general, volumetrically integrative,noninvasive, rapid and remote technique for evaluating algal abundance and rates of primaryproductivity in littoral aquatic communities. Increased algal cover is one of the strongestindicators for coral reef ecosystem stress. Visually determining variations in algalabundance is a time-consuming and expensive process. This technique could therefore providea valuable tool for ecosystem management but also for industrial monitoring of primaryproduction, such as in algae-based biofuel synthesis.

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