Quantifying threats to reef-building corals in the Visayan Sea by examining the probable on-natural and anthropogenic marine stressors

ABSTRACT

Coral reefs are large marine ecosystems, ecologically viable for more than 25% of marine species and habitats. Scleractinian are of the most important. These are reef-builders characterised by their ‘hard’ structural exterior of polyp colonies – marine invertebrates on their skeleton thriving off of calcium carbonate stored in oceans from successive colonies. The significance of corals stems far beyond the reef and marine life itself, serving ecosystem services to fisheries and eco-tourism as well as a form of coastal defence and carbon capture.

Recent literature has highlighted the stress reefs are facing, through both demand and exploitation of services and increasing severity of natural events. Here we examine coral reefs abundance and impacts with the help of marine NGO People and the Sea in the Coral Triangle on Malapascua Island in the province of Cebu, Philippines – an area equally dependant on the value of marine life and hotspot for typhoons and recreational activity. Our results project an increase of coral reef-builders of 0.9% compared to 2017, however those of which are impacted have increased by nearly 2%. Coral predation seems to be among the most prevalent and baleful impacts to the reefs in the Visayan Sea, where predators combined accounted for more than half of the observed impacts. Our results also look into the extent of ramifications influenced by climate change, water quality and tourism.

A study into marine water quality and ocean pollution based in the Philippines

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