Macroalgae in the coral reefs of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea) as a possible indicator of reef degradation

Karnit Bahartan, Mohammad Zibdah, Yousef Ahmed, Alvaro Israel, Itzchak Brickner, Avigdor Abelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current state of health of the coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea), notably the Eilat reefs, is under debate regarding both their exact condition and the causes of degradation. A dearth of earlier data and unequivocal reliable indices are the major problems hinder a clear understanding of the reef state. Our research objective was to examine coral-algal dynamics as a potential cause and an indication of reef degradation. The community structure of stony corals and algae along the northern Gulf of Aqaba reveal non-seasonal turf algae dominancy in the shallow Eilat reefs (up to 72%), while the proximate Aqaba reefs present negligible turf cover (<6%). We believe that turf dominancy can indicate degradation in these reefs, based on the reduction in essential reef components followed by proliferation of perennial turf algae. Our findings provide further evidence for the severe state of the Eilat coral reefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-764
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume60
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Coral reefs
  • Degradation
  • Eilat
  • Red Sea
  • Rhodophyta
  • Turf algae

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