The species composition and distribution of marine plants on the fringing reef of Secoko Island were studied before and after the mass coral mortality in 1998. The study showed that changes in the bottom communities that occurred after bleaching of corals were caused by the presumed development of marine plants substituting reef-building corals on the bottom. The number of algal species grew from 211 to 345. The projective cover (PC) of hard substrate with macroalgae increased: in 1998, it was 1–10% in the subtidal zone and 20–50% in the intertidal zone, while in 2002 through 2005, the PC reached 71% in the subtidal and 40–85% in the intertidal zone. It is assumed that the phase of the “plant reef” on Sesoko Island is a temporary event, and that the coral reef can recover within several decades, unless a natural catastrophe occurs again.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 20, 2007
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