This paper deals with the history and results of the studies of reefs and coral communities of the Gulf of Tonkin based on published and unpublished materials, including the author's. The state of the art in the study of reef-building scleractinian corals and reefs of this region is reported. The peculiar nature of the reefs studied is caused by the monsoon climate in the region and river runoff waters cooled to 16–18°C, silted to 100 g/m2 per day, and freshened to 28‰ in the wintertime, i.e., conditions far from optimum for reef formation. The silting and eutrophication of the gulf waters resulted in a change in the composition and structure of the coral reef communities via the reduction or elimination of certain coral species. Instead of acroporids, typical for the majority of other reefs, reef communities of the Gulf of Tonkin are dominated by poritids and faviids, which form the framework of the reefs. These peculiarities make the reefs of the Gulf of Tonkin really unique.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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