Bioindicators of changes in water quality on coral reefs: review and recommendations for monitoring programmes

Cooper, T.F., Gilmour, J.P., and Fabricius, K.E. (2009) Bioindicators of changes in water quality on coral reefs: review and recommendations for monitoring programmes. Coral Reefs, 28 (3). pp. 589-606.

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Effective environmental management requires monitoring programmes that provide specific links between changes in environmental conditions and ecosystem health. This article reviews the suitability of a range of bioindicators for use in monitoring programmes that link changes in water quality to changes in the condition of coral-reef ecosystems. From the literature, 21 candidate bioindicators were identified, whose responses to changes in water quality varied spatially and temporally; responses ranged from rapid (hours) changes within individual corals to long-term (years) changes in community composition. From this list, the most suitable bioindicators were identified by determining whether responses were (i) specific, (ii) monotonic, (iii) variable, (iv) practical and (v) ecologically relevant to management goals. For long-term monitoring programmes that aim to quantify the effects of chronic changes in water quality, 11 bioindicators were selected: symbiont photophysiology, colony brightness, tissue thickness and surface rugosity of massive corals, skeletal elemental and isotopic composition, abundance of macro-bioeroders, micro- and meiobenthic organisms such as foraminifera, coral recruitment, macroalgal cover, taxonomic richness of corals and the maximal depth of coralreef development. For short-term monitoring programmes, or environmental impact assessments that aim to quantify the effects of acute changes in water quality, a subset of seven of these bioindicators were selected, including partial mortality. Their choice will depend on the specific objectives and the timeframe available for each monitoring programme. An assessment framework is presented to assist in the selection of bioindicators to quantify the effects of changing water quality on coral-reef ecosystems.

Item ID: 7861
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: environmental monitoring, sublethal effects, nutrients, sedimentation, turbidity, marine science
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2009 03:24
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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