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Leave a Light On

Leave a Light On

November 29, 2016

WHOI biologist Joel Llopiz sets a trap containing a small LED light above a coral reef in the U.S. Virgin Islands to capture fish and invertebrate larvae. During the night, larvae approaching the reef are drawn to the light and swim into the trap. This project, led by Llopiz’s colleague Aran Mooney, also uses underwater acoustic recorders to determine whether the larvae use sound to find their way to the reef. Back in the lab, they compare the number of larvae collected in Llopiz’s light traps to the diversity of animal sounds in Mooney’s recordings. The scientists think the “rich” soundscape is a cue for larvae to approach and settle on the reef.(Photo by Paul Caiger, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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