Sedimentation in mangroves and coral reefs in a wet tropical island, Pohnpei, Micronesia

Victor, Steven, Neth, Leinson, Golbuu, Yimnang, Wolanski, Eric, and Richmond, Robert H. (2006) Sedimentation in mangroves and coral reefs in a wet tropical island, Pohnpei, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 66 (3-4). pp. 409-416.

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A six-month-long study was conducted of the fate of turbid river plumes from the Enipein watershed in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Pohnpei is one of the wettest places on earth, with a mean annual rainfall exceeding 4 m in the lowlands and 8 m in the highlands. The river waters were clear of sediment except after major storms with rainfall exceeding 5 cm day−1. Following a storm, the river plume spread in the mangrove fringed estuary and in the coral reef lagoon. The waters were highly stratified in temperature, salinity, and suspended sediment concentration. The brackish water was flushed out in four days, while the suspended sediment all settled out in the estuary, in the mangroves, and in the lagoon including on the coral reefs, in less than one day. The mean rate of sedimentation exceeded 35 mg cm−2 d−1 both over the mangroves and on the adjacent coral reefs. While this leads to no detrimental effects on the mangroves, sediment smothers corals and leads to substantial coral mortality in the lagoon. The mud is not flushed out from the lagoon because there are no strong currents from waves or tides. This high sedimentation rate is attributable to poor farming and land-use practices on the upland areas.

Item ID: 4720
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: watersheds; river plume; sediment; coral reefs; sedimentation; mangroves; Pohnpei
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2009 07:05
Downloads: Total: 8
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