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Kenya, reef status and ecology
Obura, D.; Uku, J. N.; Wawiye, O. P.; Mwachireya, S.; Mdodo, R. (2002). Kenya, reef status and ecology. CORDIO-East Africa: [s.l.]. 6 pp.

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  • Obura, D.
  • Uku, J. N., more
  • Wawiye, O. P.
  • Mwachireya, S.
  • Mdodo, R.

    Coral reefs along the entire coast of Kenya suffered widespread bleaching and mortality of corals during the first half of 1998 (Wilkinson, 1998; Obura, 1999; McClanahan et al., 1999). This status report summarises findings relating specifically to coral bleaching, mortality and effects on benthic community structure. In addition, preliminary results from a number of research projects investigating different aspects of the bleaching event are reported here. In shallow waters, on a per-area basis, most of Kenya’s southern fringing reefs have lost between 66% and 80% of their live corals. Coral reefs in deeper water suffered less mortality due to lesser exposure to higher temperatures. Reefs on the northern part of the coast, influenced by cold water currents from Somalia, also suffered less mortality of corals. Coral recruitment appears to be low on Kenyan reefs except for some minor shallow patch reefs. It is likely that alterations in reef ecology due to overfishing (McClanahan & Muthiga, 1988) and consequent rapid growth of fleshy algae may have delaying effects on coral and reef recovery. Effects of the coral mortality on other components of the reef community, such as on algae, invertebrates and fish are only just beginning to be noticed, 1.5 years after the bleaching event. These components are the subject of ongoing research in an integrated study of the Mombasa Marine Park by scientists at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute.

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