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Benthic shift in a Solomon Islands' lagoon: corals to cyanobacteria


Albert, S and Dunbabin, M and Skinner, M and Moore, B and Grinham, A, Benthic shift in a Solomon Islands' lagoon: corals to cyanobacteria, Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 09-13 July 2012, Cairns, pp. ICRS12. (2012) [Conference Extract]

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In June 2011 a large phytoplankton bloom resulted in a catastrophic mortality event that affected a large coastal embayment in the Solomon Islands. This consisted of an area in excess of 20 km2 of reef and soft sandy habitats in Marovo Lagoon, the largest double barrier lagoon in the world. This embayment is home to over 1200 people leading largely subsistence lifestyles depending on the impacted reefs for majority of their protein needs. A toxic diatom (Psuedo-nitzchia spp.) and toxic dinoflagellate (Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum) reached concentrations of millions of cells per litre. The senescent phytoplankton bloom led to complete de-oxygenation of the water column that reportedly caused substantial mortality of marine animal life in the immediate area within a rapid timeframe (24 h). Groups affected included holothurians, crabs and reef and pelagic fish species. Dolphins, reptiles and birds were also found dead within the area, indicating algal toxin accumulation in the food chain. Deep reefs and sediments, whilst initially unaffected, have now been blanketed in large cyanobacterial mats which have negatively impacted live coral cover especially within the deep reef zone (> 6 m depth). Reef recovery within the deep zone has been extremely slow and may indicate an alternative state for the system.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:cyanobacteria, phase shift, algal bloom
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Moore, B (Dr Bradley Moore)
ID Code:121563
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2017-10-03
Last Modified:2017-10-03

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