Coral health status assessment in Malaysia islands; looking towards Marine Spatial Planning

Safuan, Che Din Mohd and Ashraf, Abdul Rahman Muhammad and Tan, Chun Hong and Jaafar, Siti Nurtahirah and Yusop, Putri Asma Megat and Lai, Raveena Kim and Ismail, Md Nizam and Chan, Albert Apollo and Repin, Izarenah Md and Wee, Hin Boo and Bachok, Zainudin (2021) Coral health status assessment in Malaysia islands; looking towards Marine Spatial Planning. Ocean & Coastal Management, 213. ISSN 0964-5691, DOI

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In enhancing coral reef management, identifying the key threats that influence the coral reefs ecosystem needs accurate information on the current knowledge of coral health status and coral communities. This study attempts to update such information by evaluating the data of coral assessment on the reef areas in the southern part of the South China Sea (SCS); the Labuan Marine Park (LMP), Pulau Tioman Marine Park (PTMP), Pulau Kapas Marine Park (PKMP), Pulau Bidong (PB) and Pulau Perhentian Marine Park (PPMP). The Coral Video Transect (CVT) technique was utilised to examine the biotic live coral (C), algae (ALG) and other invertebrates (OT)] and abiotic (dead coral (DC), sand, silt and rock (SR)] composition, coral health status and coral communities. The variation of biotic and abiotic components was significantly influenced by `Area' and `Tourism Development', which implied that the reefs were influenced by proximity from the mainland and varying human-induced stressors within the site in the survey area. Lower C composition and high cover of ALG, DC and SR can be associated with the decreasing proximity of the reef `Area' to the mainland and the criteria of `Tourism Development'. `Areas' close to the mainland such as PKMP and LMP was mainly dominated by abiotic components. High ALG composition was found in PPMP and some sites in LMP, indicating the high commercial use in the `Area' have induced the algae colonisation. The reefs nearby the mainland and intense human activities consequently resulting in coral health status with some sites rated as `poor' condition. PTMP and PB recorded the highest C composition, suggesting distance from the mainland as a factor to PTMP while low human intervention is an attributable factor to PB. No `poor' sites were found in PTMP and PB, implying that both areas face minimal impact from the local stressors. The coral communities among the areas were dominated by three types of communities; Acropora-Porites-Montipora (LMP), Acropora-Porites (PTMP, PKMP and PPMP) and Acropora-PoritesFungia (PB), suggesting linkages to the environmental stressor. Conclusively, apart from filling in the information gaps on the current status of the coral reefs, the findings underline the urgent need for systematic Marine Spatial Planning design and adoption to accurately mitigate threats against a more resilient coral reef health in Malaysia.

Item Type: Article
Funders: Ministry of Education, Malaysia, DOF
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coral reef assessment; Coral health status; Coral community; Marine park policy; Marine spatial planning; South China Sea
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: Faculty of the Built Environment
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 31 May 2022 08:15
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 08:15

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