A model of the effects of land-based, human activities on the health of coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef and in Fouha Bay, Guam, Micronesia

Wolanski, Eric, Richmond, Robert H., and McCook, Laurence (2004) A model of the effects of land-based, human activities on the health of coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef and in Fouha Bay, Guam, Micronesia. Journal of Marine Systems, 46 (1-4). pp. 133-144.

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Abstract

A model is proposed to explain coral and algal abundance on coastal coral reefs as a function of spike-like natural disturbances from tropical cyclones and turbid river floods, followed by long recovery periods where the rate of reef recovery depends on ambient water and substratum quality. The model includes competition for space between corals and algae, coral recruitment and reef connectivity. The model is applied to a 400-km stretch of Australia's Great Barrier Reef and to the 200-m-long reef tract at Fouha Bay, in Guam, Micronesia. For these two sites and at these two scales, the model appears successful at reproducing the observed distribution of algae and coral. For both sites, it is suggested that the reefs have been degraded by human activities on land and that they will recover provided remedial measures are implemented on land to restore the water and substrate conditions. We suggest ways to improve the model and to use the model to guide future ecological research and management efforts on coastal coral reefs.

Item ID: 4729
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coral reefs; ecosystem health; algae; storm; river flood; connectivity; turbidity; modelling; watershed; environmental degradation
ISSN: 0924-7963
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2009 01:02
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 34
Downloads: Total: 2
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