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Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info
|What are some of the biological and physical impacts to coral reefs?
Siltation in coastal waters causes direct and indirect effects on coral reef and seagrass communities through increased turbidity, loss of light, and direct smothering of corals and seagrasses. Siltation kills corals by shading and smothering them and reduces recruitment of juvenile corals (DENR 2001). In addition, corals that are stressed by siltation, mechanical damage, or pollution have a greater likelihood of being subject to diseases (Clark 1996). Corals respond to chemical and sediment stress by secreting mucus. If this mucus becomes excessive, it can harbor bacteria with potentially fatal consequences to the coral. Lastly, clearing of land near coastal areas decreases their ability to weather storm events, threatening the structural stability of coastal areas and the areas inland from them.
Can coral reef damage also impact local communities and economies?
Unhealthy corals due to smothering from siltation will lead to negative impacts on local tourism-based business. In addition, lower coral health decreases the ecosystemís ability to sustain healthy populations of fish and invertebrates, potentially resulting in losses in fisheries income and subsistence.
|Silted reef ( Porites & Lobophyllia).
Marinduque, Philippines (J.W. McManus, from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)|