Long-Term Coral Community Stability in a Disturbed Marginal Reef in Kuwait

Shaker AlHazeem, John A. Burt, Adel Alsaffar, Wiezhong Chen, Mohammed Al-Kandari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Coral reefs in Kuwait occur at high latitude (29 N) and in in extreme environmental conditions (SST range: 13°C to 32°C, annually), and have been subject to chronic anthropogenic pressure in recent decades (recurrent bleaching, oil spills, chronic recreational anchoring and diving impacts). We surveyed coral communities at six sites around Kubbar Island in 2015 and compared these to quantitative survey results collected at the same sites 31 years earlier (1984) as well as to results from several sites resurveyed a decade ago (2003) in order to characterize changes in coral community structure in this marginal reef environment. Mean coral cover was 25% in 2015 compared with 34% in 1984, but declines in coral cover were significant at only one site. The decline in coral cover at this single site was mainly due to a >80% loss of formerly dominant Acropora, and a concomitant shift towards a lower cover community dominated by massive corals. A total of 13 coral genera were observed across sites, comparable to the 12 observed in 1984 and the 13 observed in 2003. Overall, the results of this study indicate a high degree of long term stability in coral community structure in the marginal and heavily disturbed environment of northern Kuwait.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Water Resources and Ocean Science
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

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