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Sabaki River sediment load and coral stress: correlation between sediments and condition of the Malindi-Watamu reefs in Kenya (Indian Ocean)
Van Katwijk, M.M.; Meier, N.F.; van Loon, R.; van Hove, E.M.; Giesen, W. B. J. T.; van der Velde, G.; den Hartog, C. (1993). Sabaki River sediment load and coral stress: correlation between sediments and condition of the Malindi-Watamu reefs in Kenya (Indian Ocean). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 117(4): 675-683. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF00349780
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    ISW, Kenya, Coast, Watamu
Author keywords
    sediment discharge, coral reefs, correlations

Authors  Top 
  • Van Katwijk, M.M., more
  • Meier, N.F.
  • van Loon, R.
  • van Hove, E.M.
  • Giesen, W. B. J. T.
  • van der Velde, G., more
  • den Hartog, C., more

Abstract
    Sediment discharges from rivers have a negative impact on coral reef ecosystems. Indicators of coral decline measured in the present study were: (1) injury to living stony corals; (2) soft coral cover; and (3) bare rocky substrate suitable for colonization by corals. The relationship between these indicators and the distribution of terrigenous sediment was studied for the Malindi-Watamu fringing reef complex along the Kenyan coast off East Africa during 1982 and 1983. Decline of this reef had been repeatedly noted during the preceding decade. The influence of terrigenous sediment from the Sabaki River appears to be strongest in the Watamu area in the south and in the northern-most part of the Malindi reef area. Correlations, between each of the above three coral stress response indicators, on the one hand, and quantitative indicators of sediment loading, on the other hand, were not clear. However, a combined coral stress indicator involving all three factors was shown to have a clear relationship with terrigenous sediment loading and provided a rapid means of field evaluation of the effects of sediment stress on stony corals. Values for the combined coral stress indicator were found to increase in proportion to increasing values of terrigenous sediment loads in both study areas. A higher coral stress indicator value means a high proportion of injured or algae infested corals, and/or a high soft coral cover, and/or a high proportion of rocky substrate suitable for, but unoccupied by, living corals.

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