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Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia

Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia,10.1016/j.ecss.2007.06.005,Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Sci

Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia   (Citations: 5)
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This study analyzed how coral communities change along a gradient of increasing exposure to a mud-discharging river in the Enipein Catchment, Pohnpei, Micronesia. Using video transects, we quantified benthic communities at five sites along a gradient moving away from the river mouth towards the barrier reef. The most river-impacted site was characterized by a high accumulation of mud, low coral cover and low coral diversity. Although coral cover leveled off at ∼400m from the river mouth to values found at the outer-most sites, coral diversity continued to increase with increasing distance, suggesting that the most distant site was still impacted by the river discharges. Fungiidae, Pavona, Acropora, Pachyseris and Porites rus all significantly increased in cover with distance from the river, while Turbinaria decreased. The combined presence and abundance of these six species groups, together with coral species richness, may help to indicate the effects of terrestrial runoff in similar runoff-exposed settings around Micronesia, whereas coral cover is not a sensitive indicator for river impact. Coral reefs are important resources for the people of Pohnpei. To prevent further degradation of this important resource, an integrated watershed approach is needed to control terrestrial activities.
Journal: Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science - ESTUAR COAST SHELF SCI , vol. 76, no. 1, pp. 14-20, 2008
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