This paper introduces the concept of free surface breakwaters for coastal protection. The advantages, limitations and applications of these breakwaters are discussed. Based on their configurations, free surface breakwaters have been classified into four types, namely solid-type, plate-type, caisson-type and multipart-type. Typical designs of the respective breakwater types are presented and the hydraulic characteristics are reviewed. In addition, comparisons of hydraulic efficiency of some of the free surface breakwaters are also addressed in this paper.
Due to extremely high rates of evaporation and low precipitation in the Persian Gulf, discharges from desalination plants (DPs) can lead to ecological stresses by increasing water temperatures, salinities, and heavy metal concentrations, as well as decreasing dissolved oxygen levels. We discuss the potential ecological impacts of DPs on marine organisms and propose mitigating measures to reduce the problems induced by DPs discharges. The daily capacity of DPs in the Persian Gulf exceeds 11 million m3 per day, which is approximately half of global daily freshwater production; multistage flash distillation (MSF) is the dominant desalination process. Results from field and laboratory studies indicate that there are potentially serious and chronic threats to marine communities following exposure to DP discharges, especially within the zoobenthos, echinodermata, seagrasses, and coral reefs. DP discharges can lead to decreases in sensitive species, plankton abundance, hard substrate epifauna, and growth rates of seagrasses. However, the broad applicability of any one of these impacts is currently hard to scale because of the limited number of studies that have been conducted to assess the ecological impacts of DP discharge on Persian Gulf organisms. Even so, available data suggest that appropriately sited, designed, and operated DPs combined with current developments in impingement and entrainment reduction technology can mitigate many of the negative environmental impacts of DPs.
Given predicted increases in urbanization in tropical and subtropical regions, understanding the processes shaping urban coral reefs may be essential for anticipating future conservation challenges. We used a case study approach to identify unifying patterns of urban coral reefs and clarify the effects of urbanization on hard coral assemblages. Data were compiled from 11 cities throughout East and Southeast Asia, with particular focus on Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, and Naha (Okinawa). Our review highlights several key characteristics of urban coral reefs, including "reef compression" (a decline in bathymetric range with increasing turbidity and decreasing water clarity over time and relative to shore), dominance by domed coral growth forms and low reef complexity, variable city-specific inshore-offshore gradients, early declines in coral cover with recent fluctuating periods of acute impacts and rapid recovery, and colonization of urban infrastructure by hard corals. We present hypotheses for urban reef community dynamics and discuss potential of ecological engineering for corals in urban areas.
Extreme climate events, such as the El Niños in 1997/1998 and 2015/16, have led to considerable forest loss in the Southeast Asian region following unprecedented drought and wildfires. In Borneo, the effects of extreme climate events have been exacerbated by rapid urbanization, accelerated deforestation and soil erosion since the 1980s. However, studies quantifying the impact of interannual and long-term (>3 decades) climatic and anthropogenic change affecting Borneo's coastal and coral reef environments are lacking. Here, we used coral cores collected in Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park, Sarawak (Malaysia) to reconstruct the spatio-temporal dynamics of sea surface temperature and oxygen isotopic composition of seawater from 1982 to 2016, based on paired oxygen isotope and Sr/Ca measurements. The results revealed rising sea surface temperatures of 0.26 ± 0.04 °C per decade since 1982. Reconstructed δ18Osw displayed positive excursion during major El Niño events of 1983, 1997/98 and 2015/16, indicating drought conditions with less river runoff, rainfall and higher ocean salinities. La Niñas were generally associated with lower δ18Osw. We observed a long-term shift from more saline conditions between 1982 and 1995 towards less saline conditions after 1995, which are in agreement with the regional freshening trend, punctuated by saline excursion during El Niños. The decadal shifts were found to be driven by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). This study provides the first long-term data on El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-driven synchrony of climate impacts on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems in northern Borneo. Our results suggest that coral records from northern Borneo are invaluable archives to detect regional ENSO and PDO impacts, and their interaction with the Asian-Australian monsoon, on the hydrological balance in the southern South China Sea beyond the past three decades.
During the Miocene, extensive carbonate deposition thrived over wide latitudinal ranges in Southeast Asia despite perturbations of the global climate and thermohaline circulation that affected the Asian continent. Nevertheless, the mechanisms of its emergence, adaptability in siliciclastic-dominated margins and demise, especially in southern South China Sea (SCS), are largely speculative and remains enigmatic along with a scarcity of constraints on paleoclimatic and palaeoceanographic conditions. Here we show, through newly acquired high-resolution geophysical data and accurate stratigraphic records based on strontium isotopic dating, the evolution of these platforms from ~15.5-9.5 Ma is initially tied to tectonics and eustasy, and ultimately, after ~9.5 Ma, to changes in the global climate patterns and consequent palaeoceanographic conditions. Our results demonstrate at least two paleodeltas that provided favourable substratum of elevated sand bars, which conditioning the emergence of the buildups that inadvertently mirrored the underlying strata. We show unprecedented evidences for ocean current fluctuations linked to the intensification of the Asian summer monsoon winds resulting in the formation of drifts and moats, which extirpated the platforms through sediment removal and starvation. This work highlights the imperative role of palaeoceanography in creating favourable niches for reefal development that can be applicable to carbonate platforms elsewhere.
Marine litter is recognized as an increasing component of marine ecosystem pollution. In this baseline study, we document the magnitude, types, sources, and potential impacts of litter on six coral reefs in East Sabah. We applied a simplified classification of litter to extract abundance data from video transects. The average density was 10.7 items per 100 m2. Plastics represent 91% and the remaining 9% were metal, glass, and wood. Most (~70%) plastics are single-use items derived from dumping. Discarded fishing gear accounts for ~25%. Litter pollution increases closer to urban developments, with Sakar reef having higher densities (51 items per 100 m2), and higher Clean Coast Index (CCI = 10.2, dirty) and higher Plastic Abundance Index (PAI = 4.68) scores. This method could and should be readily integrated into ongoing monitoring programs to support assessments of the extent and magnitude of marine litter pollution on reefs worldwide.
Sabah, Malaysia, is well known for its extensive and diverse coral reefs. It is located on the northwestern edge of the Coral Triangle, the region with the highest marine biodiversity. Much of the marine fauna here is still unknown, especially inconspicuous animals, such as small stoloniferous octocorals, which are common on coral reefs. Here, we describe two new monospecific genera of the family Arulidae found off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia; Bunga payunggen. nov. et sp. nov. and Laeta waheedaegen. nov. et sp. nov. As well, the stoloniferan genus Phenganax Alderslade & McFadden, 2011 belonging to the family Clavulariidae is expanded with three new species, P. marumisp. nov., P. subtilissp. nov., and P. stokvisisp. nov., which are all sclerite-free. Additionally, we report a possibly undescribed species, closely related to the clavulariid genera Azoriella Lopez-Gonzalez & Gili, 2001 and Cervera Lopez-Gonzalez et al., 1995. As this and other recent studies have shown, discoveries of small stoloniferous octocorals are helping to fill gaps in our knowledge of the overall systematics of Octocorallia.
Biodiversity surveys are crucial for monitoring the status of threatened aquatic ecosystems, such as tropical estuaries and mangroves. Conventional monitoring methods are intrusive, time-consuming, substantially expensive, and often provide only rough estimates in complex habitats. An advanced monitoring approach, environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding, is promising, although only few applications in tropical mangrove estuaries have been reported. In this study, we explore the advantages and limitations of an eDNA metabarcoding survey on the fish community of the Merbok Estuary (Peninsular Malaysia). COI and 12S eDNA metabarcoding assays collectively detected 178 species from 127 genera, 68 families, and 25 orders. Using this approach, significantly more species have been detected in the Merbok Estuary over the past decade (2010-2019) than in conventional surveys, including several species of conservation importance. However, we highlight three limitations: (1) in the absence of a comprehensive reference database the identities of several species are unresolved; (2) some of the previously documented specimen-based diversity was not captured by the current method, perhaps as a consequence of PCR primer specificity, and (3) the detection of non-resident species-stenohaline freshwater taxa (e.g., cyprinids, channids, osphronemids) and marine coral reef taxa (e.g., holocentrids, some syngnathids and sharks), not known to frequent estuaries, leading to the supposition that their DNA have drifted into the estuary through water movements. The community analysis revealed that fish diversity along the Merbok Estuary is not homogenous, with the upstream more diverse than further downstream. This could be due to the different landscapes or degree of anthropogenic influences along the estuary. In summary, we demonstrated the practicality of eDNA metabarcoding in assessing fish community and structure within a complex and rich tropical environment within a short sampling period. However, some limitations need to be considered and addressed to fully exploit the efficacy of this approach.
Results are presented of a demonstration of real-time fish blast location in Sabah, Malaysia using a networked hydroacoustic array based on the ShotSpotter gunshot location system. A total of six acoustic sensors - some fixed and others mobile - were deployed at ranges from 1 to 9 km to detect signals from controlled test blasts. This allowed the blast locations to be determined to within 60 m accuracy, and for the calculated locations to be displayed on a map on designated internet-connected computers within 10 s. A smaller three-sensor system was then installed near Semporna in Eastern Sabah that determined the locations of uncontrolled blasts set off by local fishermen. The success of these demonstrations shows that existing technology can be used to protect reefs and permit more effective management of blast fishing activity through improved detection and enforcement measures and enhanced community engagement.
Nitratireductor basaltis strain UMTGB225 is a Gram-negative bacterium isolated from a marine tunicate found in Bidong Island, Terengganu, Malaysia. In this study, the genome of Nitratireductor basaltis UMTGB225 was sequenced to gain insight into the role of this bacterium and its association with tunicate hosts in a coral reef habitat.
Five sea cucumber species including one new species of the genus Stichopus are reported from the shallow coral reefs of Straits of Malacca. The new species Stichopus fusiformiossa has unusual fusiform spicules in the tentacles, which are not found in the other species of the genus. Pseudo-tables and large perforated plates are newly recorded for Stichopus hermanni Semper, 1868 and Stichopus vastus Sluiter, 1887, respectively.
Acropora is the most biologically diverse group of reef-building coral, and its richness peaks at the Indo-Malay-Philippine Archipelago, the centre of global coral reef biodiversity. In this paper, we describe the species richness of Acropora fauna of North Borneo, East Malaysia, based on review of literature and as corroborated by voucher specimens. Eighty-three species of Acropora are reported here; four species are literature based and 79 are supported by voucher specimens that were subsequently photographed. New records for North Borneo were recorded for 12 species, including Acropora suharsonoi Wallace 1994 that was previously thought to be confined to a few islands along Lombok Strait, Indonesia. The diversity of Acropora in North Borneo is comparable to that of Indonesia and the Philippines, despite the area's smaller reef areas. This further reinforces its inclusion as part the global hotspot of coral biodiversity.
Members of the marine soft coral genus Xenia are rich in a diversity of diterpenes. A total of 199 terpenes consisting of 14 sesquiterpenes, 180 diterpenes, and 5 steroids have been reported to date. Xenicane diterpenes were reported to be the most common chemical skeleton biosynthesized by members of this genus. Most of the literature reported the chemical diversity of Xenia collected from the coral reefs in the South China Sea and the coastal waters of Taiwan. Although there was a brief review on the terpenoids of Xenia in 2015, the present review is a comprehensive overview of the structural diversity of secondary metabolites isolated from soft coral genus Xenia and their potent biological activity as reported between 1977 to 2019.
The aim of this study was to determine the accumulation of settling particles in coral reefs of Peninsular Malaysia. Settling particles were collected from the coral reefs of Port Dickson, Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Redang and Pulau Tinggi from 2005 to 2008. The average total settling particles in Pulau Langkawi and Port Dickson was 49.8 mg/cm2/day, while for Pulau Tioman, Pulau Redang, and Pulau Tinggi was 3.5 mg/cm2/day. The results showed that accumulations rate in west coast were higher than east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. However, Pulau Tioman in the east coast received high accumulations rate of settling particles in certain times of the year due to sediment resuspension at shallow reefs caused by high energy seasonal yearly wave and monsoon.
Coral reefs in the northern region of the Straits of Malacca have a diverse group
of octocorals growing on its bed. The octocorals identified in this study are from islands
along the Straits. In this study, 23 specimens were identified, belonging to 4 sub-orders,
which have been subdivided into 8 families. From these 8 families, 15 different genera
have been identified. The identification process for this research was conducted based on
five important keys; the external form and colouration, polyps or colonial and fundamental
structure of colonies, monomorphic or dimorphic, the arrangement of polyps, and the
arrangement of sclerites.
Offshore Onna Village, Okinawa Island, Japan, there is a large and densely covered coral assemblage of free-living mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) on a reef slope at depths from 20 m to 32 m, covering an area of approximately 350 × 40 m2. From previous research, it is known that migration distances of mushroom corals may depend on coral shapes, coral sizes, substrate, and bottom inclination. However, until now there have been no published examples of regular Fungiidae movement and behavior from typhoon-exposed coastlines, such as those in the western Pacific Ocean. Our surveys across three years offshore Onna Village show that mushroom corals always move in down-slope direction from shallow to deeper reef zones. The results indicated that mushroom corals migrated faster in autumn than in other seasons, and that oval-elongate fungiids, and particularly those with a smooth underside, migrated more quickly than species with other shapes. Surprisingly, we observed a negative relationship between the presence of typhoons and migration rates. We also observed active migration by fungiid individuals to escape situations in which they were threatened to become overgrown by Acropora corals, or when they needed to escape from burial underneath coral debris.
Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55%) and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m(-2)) were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m(2)) was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease.
The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.
Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites) participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta) exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies), two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera) did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies) in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia.
Layang-Layang is a small island part of an oceanic atoll in the Spratly Islands off Sabah, Malaysia. As the reef coral fauna in this part of the South China Sea is poorly known, a survey was carried out in 2013 to study the species composition of the scleractinian coral families Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae. A total of 56 species was recorded. The addition of three previously reported coral species brings the total to 59, consisting of 32 Fungiidae, 22 Agariciidae, and five Euphylliidae. Of these, 32 species are new records for Layang-Layang, which include five rarely reported species, i.e., the fungiids Lithophyllonranjithi, Podabaciasinai, Sandalolithaboucheti, and the agariciids Leptoseriskalayaanensis and Leptoseristroglodyta. The coral fauna of Layang-Layang is poor compared to other areas in Sabah, which may be related to its recovery from a crown-of-thorns seastar outbreak in 2010, and its low habitat diversity, which is dominated by reef slopes consisting of steep outer walls. Based on integrative molecular and morphological analyses, a Pavona variety with small and extremely thin coralla was revealed as Pavonamaldivensis. Since specimens from Sabah previously identified as Pavonamaldivensis were found to belong to Pavonaexplanulata, the affinities and distinctions of Pavonamaldivensis and Pavonaexplanulata are discussed.