Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Suspended Sediment as Coral Stressors

Coral reefs are complex and important features of the marine environment. They have the highest biodiversity of any marine ecosystem. Coral reefs are often referred to as the “rainforest of the sea” due to their rich in biodiversity.  Reefs provide important ecosystem services such as feeding and breeding ground for large number of fish, invertebrates and marine mammals.  Apart from that, coral reefs also protect shorelines from erosion by becoming natural breakwater which minimize wave impacts from storms and hurricanes in coastal areas. However, the coral reefs coverage around the world is in decline. Worldwide declines in coral coverage and overall reef degradation can be attributed to a variety of anthropogenic and natural causes. These include climate changes, coral bleaching, diseases and biological infestation, coral mining, tourism, habitat loss from development and suspended sediment. Human intervention is still seen as the major causes of corals death. The anthropogenic impacts might be caused by near shore dredging and the unplanned human occupation of the coastal zone. 

Coral reef ecosystem under siege of various stress 

One of the most prominent stressor in coral decline is suspended sediment. Suspended sediment is very fine soil particles which suspended in the water as a result of erosion in streams or on beaches, or from wave-induced re-suspension of particles from the bottom. These fine particles can smother the coral mucus surface which can reduce larval replenishment and impede their ability to persist. Corals can be additionally stressed due to the allocation of energy required to remove sediment particles, sites for new coral recruitment can be eliminated, and coral colonies can be buried under conditions that permit sediment accumulation. Thus, it can be justified that suspended sediment is indeed a vital factor which may inhibit the growth and survival of corals.
At the moment, the rate of suspended sediment or sedimentation rate in coral reef areas has increased due to human activities such as coastal development and tourism. Sediment accumulation rate or sedimentation rate of 10mg.cm-2.day-1 seems to be critical limit for coral to grow. It is reported that up to a rate of sedimentation deposition of 15mg.cm-2.day-1, the reefs start to decline. Hence, continuous monitoring of sedimentation rate and other threatening factors should be done in order to assess the health of the coral reef. 

High concentration of suspended sediment may results in coral death

Friday, 18 October 2013

Artificial reef: dump sites or new habitat?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious and Most Merciful.

As an effort to restore reef, artificial reefs were deployed at several areas especially within marine protected areas. Various types of artificial reef being used such as concrete unit, wooden boat, wabcore block and reef ball. These structure were said to be able to mimic the natural reef. The question is, does this man-made structure truly serve its purpose as habitat?

In my opinion, preliminary studies on the effectiveness of artificial reef should be done before any deployment being made. We cant simply dump anything and then hoping it will become new home for marine organisms.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

it's been a while

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious and Most Merciful....

It has been almost a year ago since my first entry in this blog. I must admit i had lost the desire to write in a blog long time ago.

One year has passed. A lots of things happen. A lot of changes being seen in our reef community. For the past one year, I've been dedicated my time mingling around coral reef in Tioman Island. I've dived in almost all part of the island. It was indeed among the greatest experience of all. 

The reef is still in good condition even though some part were badly affected by eutrophication and human development. New corals were developing and we do really hope that these corals can survive with the current condition of human and natural stress.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A new beginning

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful......

Assalamualaikum and greetings to everyone. I am Faiz from Malaysia. Currently doing my master research in coral recruitment studies in marine protected areas of Malaysia. Coral reef has become part of my life. I was fascinated with the diversity of living creatures in coral reef ecosystem ever since i did my open water certificate in Perhentian Island, Malaysia. At first, i thought that reef is just a beautiful place to be. But then again, after being involved in research on coral reef i started to fell in love with it. I am excited to know more about coral reef and its dynamic roles and contribution towards the ocean living organism. I am aspired to become Reef Ecologist one day. This is just a new beginning. And i prayed to Allah to give me strength in my quest to become a good, if not the best reef scientist.