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Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

Waheed Z, van Mil HG, Syed Hussein MA, Jumin R, Golam Ahad B, Hoeksema BW - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%).Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old.Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Marine Zoology, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

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Benthic composition in the proposed Tun Mustapha Park.(A) Average percentage cover of benthic communities, (B) Reef coral status following the criteria of Chou et al. [21].
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pone.0146006.g005: Benthic composition in the proposed Tun Mustapha Park.(A) Average percentage cover of benthic communities, (B) Reef coral status following the criteria of Chou et al. [21].

Mentions: The average hard coral cover of 55 transects in the TMP was 49% (Fig 5). Following the criteria described by Chou et al. [21], most reefs were rated either fair (51%) or good (38%) in terms of coral cover. Only 7% of the reefs had excellent coral cover, while 4% had poor coral cover. The coral cover ranged from 18% at Pancang Pukul (site 40D) to 77% at Mangsee Reef (site 26S) (S4 Table). Hard coral was the most dominant biotic component on the reef, accounting for almost half of the benthic substrate cover. Other functional biotic components were soft coral (3%, range: 0–31%) and nutrient indicator algae (5%, range: 0–29%). Major abiotic components (> 10% cover) that contributed to the benthic cover were rock (17%, range: 3–34%) and rubble (16%, range: 1–52%).


Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

Waheed Z, van Mil HG, Syed Hussein MA, Jumin R, Golam Ahad B, Hoeksema BW - PLoS ONE (2015)

Benthic composition in the proposed Tun Mustapha Park.(A) Average percentage cover of benthic communities, (B) Reef coral status following the criteria of Chou et al. [21].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4697805&req=5

pone.0146006.g005: Benthic composition in the proposed Tun Mustapha Park.(A) Average percentage cover of benthic communities, (B) Reef coral status following the criteria of Chou et al. [21].
Mentions: The average hard coral cover of 55 transects in the TMP was 49% (Fig 5). Following the criteria described by Chou et al. [21], most reefs were rated either fair (51%) or good (38%) in terms of coral cover. Only 7% of the reefs had excellent coral cover, while 4% had poor coral cover. The coral cover ranged from 18% at Pancang Pukul (site 40D) to 77% at Mangsee Reef (site 26S) (S4 Table). Hard coral was the most dominant biotic component on the reef, accounting for almost half of the benthic substrate cover. Other functional biotic components were soft coral (3%, range: 0–31%) and nutrient indicator algae (5%, range: 0–29%). Major abiotic components (> 10% cover) that contributed to the benthic cover were rock (17%, range: 3–34%) and rubble (16%, range: 1–52%).

Bottom Line: Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%).Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old.Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Marine Zoology, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus