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.
Body size influences many life-history traits, with small-bodied animals tending to have short life spans, high mortality and greater reproductive effort early in life. In this study, the authors investigated the life-history traits and reproductive strategies of three small-bodied coral reef gobies of the genus Trimma: Trimma benjamini, Trimma capostriatum and Trimma yanoi. The authors found all Trimma species studied attained a small body size of <25 mm, had a short life span of <140 days and experienced high estimated daily mortality of 3.0%-6.7%. Furthermore, the pelagic larval phase accounted for 25.3%-28.5% of the maximum life span, and maturation occurred between 74.1 and 82.1 days at 15.2-15.8 mm, leaving only 35%-43% of the total life span as a reproductively viable adult. All mature individuals had gonad structures consistent with bidirectional sex change, with bisexual gonads including both ovarian and testicular portions separated by a thin wall of connective tissue. In the female and male phases, only ovaries or testes were mature, whereas gonadal tissue of the non-active sex remained. One T. benjamini individual and one T. yanoi individual had ovarian and testicular tissue active simultaneously. The results of this study highlight the life-history challenges small CRFs face on their path to reproduction and reproductive strategies that could be beneficial in fishes with high and unpredictable mortality and short reproductive life spans.
Coral reefs in the Central Indo-Pacific region comprise some of the most diverse and yet threatened marine habitats. While reef monitoring has grown throughout the region in recent years, studies of coral reef benthic cover remain limited in spatial and temporal scales. Here, we analysed 24,365 reef surveys performed over 37 years at 1972 sites throughout East Asia by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network using Bayesian approaches. Our results show that overall coral cover at surveyed reefs has not declined as suggested in previous studies and compared to reef regions like the Caribbean. Concurrently, macroalgal cover has not increased, with no indications of phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominance on reefs. Yet, models incorporating socio-economic and environmental variables reveal negative associations of coral cover with coastal urbanisation and sea surface temperature. The diversity of reef assemblages may have mitigated cover declines thus far, but climate change could threaten reef resilience. We recommend prioritisation of regionally coordinated, locally collaborative long-term studies for better contextualisation of monitoring data and analyses, which are essential for achieving reef conservation goals.
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.
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.
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.
Sharks and rays are key functional components of coral reef ecosystems, yet many populations of a few species exhibit signs of depletion and local extinctions. The question is whether these declines forewarn of a global extinction crisis. We use IUCN Red List to quantify the status, trajectory, and threats to all coral reef sharks and rays worldwide. Here, we show that nearly two-thirds (59%) of the 134 coral-reef associated shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. Alongside marine mammals, sharks and rays are among the most threatened groups found on coral reefs. Overfishing is the main cause of elevated extinction risk, compounded by climate change and habitat degradation. Risk is greatest for species that are larger-bodied (less resilient and higher trophic level), widely distributed across several national jurisdictions (subject to a patchwork of management), and in nations with greater fishing pressure and weaker governance. Population declines have occurred over more than half a century, with greatest declines prior to 2005. Immediate action through local protections, combined with broad-scale fisheries management and Marine Protected Areas, is required to avoid extinctions and the loss of critical ecosystem function condemning reefs to a loss of shark and ray biodiversity and ecosystem services, limiting livelihoods and food security.
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.
The first occurrence of the cyanobacteriosponge Terpios hoshinota was reported from coral reefs in Guam in 1973, but was only formally described in 1993. Since then, the invasive behavior of this encrusting, coral-killing sponge has been observed in many coral reefs in the West Pacific. From 2015, its occurrence has expanded westward to the Indian Ocean. Although many studies have investigated the morphology, ecology, and symbiotic cyanobacteria of this sponge, little is known of its population genetics and demography. In this study, a mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) fragment and nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) were sequenced to reveal the genetic variation of T. hoshinota collected from 11 marine ecoregions throughout the Indo-West Pacific. Both of the statistical parsimony networks based on the COI and nuclear ITS2 were dominated by a common haplotype. Pairwise F ST and Isolation-by-distance by Mantel test of ITS2 showed moderate gene flow existed among most populations in the marine ecoregions of West Pacific, Coral Triangle, and Eastern Indian Ocean, but with a restricted gene flow between these regions and Maldives in the Central Indian Ocean. Demographic analyses of most T. hoshinota populations were consistent with the mutation-drift equilibrium, except for the Sulawesi Sea and Maldives, which showed bottlenecks following recent expansion. Our results suggest that while long-range dispersal might explain the capability of T. hoshinota to spread in the IWP, stable population demography might account for the long-term persistence of T. hoshinota outbreaks on local reefs.
Knowledge of the biogeography of marine taxa has lagged significantly behind terrestrial ecosystems. A hotspot of marine biodiversity associated with coral reefs is known in the Coral Triangle of the Indo-West Pacific, but until now there was little data with which to evaluate broad patterns of species richness in the coastal fauna of ecosystems other than coral reefs. This data is critically needed for fauna with low functional redundancy like that of mangroves, that are vulnerable to habitat loss and rising sea levels. Here we show that the diversity of mangrove fauna is characterized by two distinct hotspots in the Indo-West Pacific, associated with two habitat types: fringe mangroves in the Coral Triangle, and riverine mangroves in the Strait of Malacca, between the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra. This finding, based on a family of slugs of which the systematics has been completely revised, illustrates an unexpected biogeographic pattern that emerged only after this taxon was studied intensively. Most organisms that live in the mangrove forests of Southeast Asia remain poorly known both taxonomically and ecologically, and the hotspot of diversity of onchidiid slugs in the riverine mangroves of the Strait of Malacca indicates that further biodiversity studies are needed to support effective conservation of mangrove biodiversity.
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.
A global survey of coral reefs reveals that overfishing is driving resident shark species toward extinction, causing diversity deficits in reef elasmobranch (shark and ray) assemblages. Our species-level analysis revealed global declines of 60 to 73% for five common resident reef shark species and that individual shark species were not detected at 34 to 47% of surveyed reefs. As reefs become more shark-depleted, rays begin to dominate assemblages. Shark-dominated assemblages persist in wealthy nations with strong governance and in highly protected areas, whereas poverty, weak governance, and a lack of shark management are associated with depauperate assemblages mainly composed of rays. Without action to address these diversity deficits, loss of ecological function and ecosystem services will increasingly affect human communities.
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.
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.
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.
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.