Effects of tourism-derived sewage on coral reefs: Isotopic assessments identify effective bioindicators

Lachs, Liam, Johari, Nur Arbaeen Mohd, Le, Dung Quang, Safuan, Che Din Mohd, Duprey, Nicolas N., Tanaka, Kentaro, Hong, Tan Chun, Ory, Nicolas C., Bachok, Zainudin, Baker, David M., Kochzius, Marc and Shirai, Kotaro (2019) Effects of tourism-derived sewage on coral reefs: Isotopic assessments identify effective bioindicators Marine Pollution Bulletin, 148 . pp. 85-96. DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.07.059.

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Abstract

Pulau Redang and Pulau Tioman have experienced huge tourism growth over the last two decades, but minimal sewage treatment may threaten the resilience of their coral reefs. This study uses stable isotope techniques to identify suitable bioindicators of sewage nutrients (δ15N) at these islands by measuring macroalgae (Lobophora spp.), gastropods (Drupella spp.), scleractinian coral (Acropora spp.), and leather coral (Sinularia spp.). At tourist hubs using seepage septic tank systems, enrichment of Acropora δ15N (Redang, +0.7‰) and Sinularia δ15N (Tioman, +0.4‰) compared to pristine background levels indicate enhanced sewage nutrient discharge. Carbon isotopes and survey data suggest that sedimentation did not confound these δ15N trends. Potential damaging effects of sewage discharge on the coral reef communities at both islands are highlighted by strong correlations between Acropora δ15N and regional variation in coral reef community structure, and exclusive occurrence of degraded reefs at regions of high sewage influence.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Nitrogen stable isotopes; Nutrient enrichment; Sewage bioindicators; Tourism development; Community structure; Resilience
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Marine Evolutionary Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.07.059
ISSN: 0025-326X
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 13:35
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2019 13:35
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/48105

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