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Trend in Coral-Algal Phase Shift in the Mandapam Group of Islands, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, India

M.Machendiranathan  L.Senthilnathan  R.Ranith  A.Saravanakumar  T.Thangaradjou  S.B.Choudhry  S.K.Sasamal  
【摘要】:The present study revealed proliferation of macro-algae modifying coral reef ecosystems in a different manner due to diseases and sedimentations in the Mandapam group of islands in the Gulf of Mannar. Benthic surveys were conducted with major attack of seven coral reefs diseases with high sedimentation rate, nine species of fleshy macro-algae(Turbinaria ornata, Turbinaria conaides, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Caulerpa racemosa, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Padina gymnosphora, Sargassum wightii, Ulva reticulata and Calurpa lentillifera) proliferation against major corals life forms(Acropora branching, Acropora digitate, Acropora tabulate, coral massive, coral submassive, coral foliose and coral encrusting). The results confirm that diseased corals most favor to macro-algae growth(15.27%) rather than the sedimentation covered corals(8.24 %). In the degradation of coral life forms, massive corals were more highly damaged(7.05%) than any other forms. Within a short period of time(May to September), coral coverage shrank to 17.4% from 21.9%, macro-algae increased 23.51% and the average sedimentation rate attained 77.52 mg cm~(-2) d~(-1) with persisting coral reef diseases of 17.59%. The Pearson correlation showed that the coral cover decreased with increasing macro-algae growth, which was statistically significant(r =-0.774, n = 100, P 0.0005). The proliferation of the various macro-algae C. scalpellifrmis, T. ornata, C. racemosa, T. conaides, U. reticulata, S. wightii, K. alvarezii, P. gymnosphora and C. lentillifera increased with percentages of 6.0, 5.8, 5.7, 4.9, 4.2, 3.7, 2.7 and 1.9, respectively. If this trend continues, the next generation of new recruit corals will undoubtedly lead to a phase shift in Gulf of Mannar corals.

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