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Article
Author(s)

Loke Ming Chou

Affiliation(s)

Tropical Marine Science Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119227, Singapore

ABSTRACT

Over 60% of Singapore’s coral reefs have been lost to decades of coastal urbanization and heavy sedimentation has restricted coral development to the upper 5 m of the reef slope. High species diversity, predictable mass spawning events and vigorous growth of larval recruits indicate that active rehabilitation can help enhance reef resilience to urbanization and climate change impacts. Rehabilitation techniques selected should address high sedimentation, destabilized reef substrate and reef community structure change. Coral species dominance has shifted to favor those more tolerant of reduced light. Initiating rehabilitation with these dominant species can stabilize the reef substrate quickly. Coral nurseries with raised mesh-net platforms prevent sediment smothering and improve survival of coral fragments and juveniles. Juveniles have also naturally recruited and developed on seawalls constructed in non-reef areas. Innovative design and engineering of coastal defenses can facilitate coral growth as sea level rises. Floating reefs and seawalls that incorporate terraced tidal pools can encourage continued growth and development of coral communities. Two approaches considered appropriate to rehabilitating coral communities exposed to impacts of urbanization and climate change are: (1) increase of live coral cover and diversity of degraded reefs; (2) creation of reef communities in non-reef areas.

KEYWORDS

Coral reef, rehabilitation, urban, climate change impacts.

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