In an experiment, they found fish returned after hearing recordings of the sounds of a healthy ocean reef.
The international team included scientists from the British universities of Exeter and Bristol, as well as Australia’s James Cook University. The research results were reported in the publication Nature Communications.
The scientists placed underwater speakers in areas where coral had been dying in Australia’s northern Great Barrier Reef. They played the sounds over a period of about a six weeks in 2017 and studied the results. The team reported that twice as many fish arrived in areas where the sounds of healthy coral were played.
The sounds also led to a 50 percent increase in the number of species present in the area, the researchers found. Among the arriving fish were species that feed on all major food sources.
The researchers noted the importance of having many different kinds of fish return to the area. Different species of fish perform many activities that support the ocean environment and sea life. “Damaged reefs have a higher chance of recovery if they have healthy fish populations,” the scientists wrote in the report.
Steve Simpson is a professor at the University of Exeter who helped lead the research. He said in a statement that “healthy coral reefs are remarkably noisy places.” They contain the sounds of many kinds of shrimp, fish and other sea creatures. Young fish listen for these sounds when they are looking for a place to settle, Simpson said.
He added that reefs “become ghostly quiet” when they suffer destruction that is usually related to human-caused pollution. Coral damage can cause unappealing smells and sounds that drive shrimp and fish away. But the experiment suggested that the use of underwater loudspeakers was an effective way to get young fish to come back.
Mark Meekan is a fish biologist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science. He said in a statement that the return of these fish is the first step to seeing major improvements in reef health. "Recovery is underpinned by fish that clean the reef and create space for corals to regrow," he said.
Tim Gordon was another member of the research team from the University of Exeter. He says he believes sound can be used to bring back dead coral in areas suffering major destruction in oceans across the world.
"Boosting fish populations in this way could help to kick-start natural recovery processes, counteracting the damage we’re seeing on many coral reefs around the world," Gordon said.
University of Bristol professor Andy Radford said the underwater sounds are a promising way to fight coral reef damage at the local community level. But he noted that other threats need to be reduced as well. These include climate change, pollution and overfishing.
Gordon added, "From local management innovations to international political action, we need meaningful progress at all levels to paint a better future for reefs worldwide."
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English based on reports from Nature Communications, the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
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Quiz - Researchers Use Sounds to Call Fish Back to Dead Coral
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Words in This Story
coral reef – n. underwater structures made up of stony corals
species – n. a group of plants or animals that share similar qualities
remarkably – adv. in a way that makes you feel surprised
ghostly – adj. like a ghost in appearance; unnatural
underpin – v. give support or strength to something
kick-start – v. to make something start to happen
innovation – n. a new idea or method of doing something
English @ the Movies: Death Row
6 Minute English
The benefits of schadenfreude
EPISODE 190110 / 10 JAN 2019
Do you take pleasure when someone undeserving of their success has a spot of bad luck? Not even a little pleasure? Well, if you do (like, apparently, most of us) you might like to learn the word 'schadenfreude' and the concept behind it. Rob and Neil talk about this German word also used in English and teach you new vocabulary.
This week's question
False cognates – also called false friends - are words that look the same in two languages but have different meanings. In English we have the word 'rat' but what does that mean in German? Is it...
a) a big mouse
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
the satisfying feeling you get when something bad happens to someone else
a word from one language that is used in another language without being changed
a person's misfortune that is considered to be deserved punishment for something bad that they have done
punishment someone receives that is fair for what they have done
people who claim to have certain moral beliefs but actually behave in a way that shows they are not sincere
expressing sympathy to someone about their bad luck
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English, I'm Neil. This is the programme where in just six minutes we discuss an interesting topic and teach some related English vocabulary. And joining me to do this is Rob.
In this programme we're discussing schadenfreude.
Hold on, Neil – schadenfreude – that's a German word.
Schadenfreude is what we can call a loanword - a word from one language that is used in another language without being changed.
So you're right – schadenfreude is used in English and am I right in thinking it describes the satisfying feeling you get when something bad happens to someone else?
You're right, Rob. Imagine you're in a queue at the supermarket and someone pushes in, but when they got to pay, their credit card doesn't work – think of the feeling you might get just seeing their misfortune – another word for bad luck.
Yes, that is a very satisfying feeling – but it's quite a mean feeling too.
It is but we'll be discussing why that feeling could actually be good for us. But first, let's set a question for you, Rob, and our listeners at home, to answer. This is about false cognates – also called false friends - words that look the same in two languages but have different meanings. So in English we have the word 'rat' but what does that mean in German? Is it…
a) a big mouse
b) annoyed or
That's tricky because I don't speak German. So I'll guess and say b) annoyed.
Well, I'll have the answer later on. Now, let's talk more about schadenfreude. Enjoying someone's misfortune can certainly make us feel good.
And studies have shown this feeling is quite normal – particularly when is happens to someone we envy. If we see a wealthy celebrity suffering on a reality TV show, or are exposed for not paying their taxes, we feel good. We say they've had their comeuppance.
That's a good word – meaning a person's bad luck that is considered to be deserved punishment for something bad that they have done.
Let's hear from psychologist Wilco Van Dijk from the University of Leiden, who's been talking about this on the BBC Radio 4 programme, All in the Mind. What have his studies found about our enjoyment of others misfortune?
Wilco Van Dijk, psychologist, University of Leiden
People especially feel schadenfreude when they think the misfortune is deserved. Then the question is where this joy arises, is this actually joy experienced towards the misfortune of others or is it also at least partly about a just situation – that this misfortune of another actually appeals to a sense of justice. That's also the reason why we like the misfortune of hypocrites because if they fall down that also is a deserved situation.
OK, so Wilco Van Dijk's studies found we get joy when someone's misfortune is deserved – there is justice – in other words, the punishment someone receives is fair.
And a just situation means a fair situation – it is right. So I guess he's saying we're not just being mean.
Yes. And he also mentioned the type of people whose misfortune is just and deserved, are hypocrites – people who claim to have certain moral beliefs but actually behave in a way that shows they are not sincere.
The All in the Mind programme also heard from another expert on the subject – author and historian of emotions, Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith. She talked about how schadenfreude is a subjective thing – based on our feelings – and it's not as simple as deciding what is right or wrong. What word does she use that means to express sympathy to someone about someone's bad luck?
Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith, author and historian of emotions
We don't really experience emotions, you know, as either-or things, it's not black or white. I think it's perfectly reasonable that we could genuinely commiserate with someone else's misfortune at the same time as a terrible sly smile spreading across our lips because, you know, something we've envied about them has turned out not to work out so well or whatever it is. You know, we have a much deeper ability to hold contradictory emotions in mind, much more so than your average moral philosopher would allow.
Interesting stuff. She says when something goes wrong for someone, we have the ability to commiserate with them – that's the word for expressing sympathy to someone about their bad luck.
So overall, Tiffany Watt-Smith thinks we have a range of emotions when we experience schadenfreude – but these are contradictory emotions – different and opposite emotions. Maybe, Neil, we should just be nicer people?
No way! I loved seeing Germany getting knocked out of last year's World Cup – not really! Talking of Germany, earlier we mentioned false friends and I asked in English we have the word 'rat' but what does that mean in German? Is it…
a) a big mouse
And, Rob, you said…
I said b) annoyed.
And that is the wrong answer, I'm afraid. The right answer is c) advice. Well done if you knew that at home. Now on to the vocabulary we looked at in this programme.
So today we've been talking about schadenfreude – that describes the satisfying feeling you get when something bad happens to someone else.
And that's an example of a loanword - a word from one language that is used in another language without being changed. In this case German.
We mentioned comeuppance which describes a person's misfortune that is considered to be deserved punishment for something bad that they've done.
Next we mentioned justice – that's the punishment someone receives that is fair for what they've done. And the word just describes something that is fair and right.
Hypocrites are people who claim to have certain moral beliefs but actually behave in a way that shows they are not sincere.
And finally commiserate is a word that means expressing sympathy to someone about their bad luck. That's the verb. The noun form is commiseration.
Well commiserations, Neil. We've run out of time for this programme. See you soon, goodbye.
Strong winds and cold weather in most parts of Thailand
By The Nation
It will be particularly cold on the mountaintops with morning frost and temperatures from 1-8°C. The Central region including Bangkok and its vicinity, and the East region, will also experience cold weather with minimum temperatures ranging from 12-19 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, the stronger northeast monsoon will continue to whip up waves in the southern Gulf, reaching 2-3 metres high from Chumphon northward and 2-4 metres from Surat Thani southward.
Tidal surges along the eastern coast of South Thailand are likely. Ships should proceed with caution, and small boats should stay ashore.
Bangkok and the vicinity will experience Northeasterly winds of 15-35 km/hr
Thailand's Thongchai earns full exempt status on PGA TOUR Champions after 62
By THE NATION
"Very excited. I worked well with my coach and caddie this week. The course is in great shape. When you have a good tee shot, you have a chance. Very proud with this 62 and I played well. Putted a lot better today. I attacked and targeted five or six under today as I was outside the top-five and managed to attack the par fives. Turned 50 this year and I’ll try to enjoy it although I’ll have to do things differently now. Finally I’ve got in and hopefully I’ll enjoy next year," said Thongchai.
Shane Bertsch made a six-foot par putt on the 18th hole to complete a final-round 65 and pip Thongchai by one stroke with a 17-under total. Apart from Bertsch and Thongchai, the next three players on the leaderboard are Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, Robin Byrd and Australia’s Stephen Leaney.
Karlsson was the 54-hole leader and earned one of the five cards after a final-round 69 gave him a third-place finish at 14-under. An 11-time winner on the European Tour, Karlsson was selected by Padraig Harrington to be a vice captain at the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Thongchai, the leading career money earner on the Asian Tour, won First Stage in California by three shots with a four-day score of 13-under. He turned in rounds of 61-73-71-66, making eight birdies and an eagle to turn in the opening round 61. He has been a staple on the Asian Tour for a long time, collecting 13 wins, second most all-time behind countryman Thaworn Wiratchant. He also has eight career wins on the European Tour. The Thai legend turned 50 in November.
December 9, 2019