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      Abundance and physiology of dominant soft corals linked to water quality in Jakarta Bay, Indonesia

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          Abstract

          Declining water quality is one of the main reasons of coral reef degradation in the Thousand Islands off the megacity Jakarta, Indonesia. Shifts in benthic community composition to higher soft coral abundances have been reported for many degraded reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. However, it is not clear to what extent soft coral abundance and physiology are influenced by water quality. In this study, live benthic cover and water quality (i.e. dissolved inorganic nutrients (DIN), turbidity (NTU), and sedimentation) were assessed at three sites (< 20 km north of Jakarta) in Jakarta Bay (JB) and five sites along the outer Thousand Islands (20–60 km north of Jakarta). This was supplemented by measurements of photosynthetic yield and, for the first time, respiratory electron transport system (ETS) activity of two dominant soft coral genera, Sarcophyton spp. and Nephthea spp. Findings revealed highly eutrophic water conditions in JB compared to the outer Thousand Islands, with 44% higher DIN load (7.65 μM/L), 67% higher NTU (1.49 NTU) and 47% higher sedimentation rate (30.4 g m −2 d −1). Soft corals were the dominant type of coral cover within the bay (2.4% hard and 12.8% soft coral cover) compared to the outer Thousand Islands (28.3% hard and 6.9% soft coral cover). Soft coral abundances, photosynthetic yield, and ETS activity were highly correlated with key water quality parameters, particularly DIN and sedimentation rates. The findings suggest water quality controls the relative abundance and physiology of dominant soft corals in JB and may thus contribute to phase shifts from hard to soft coral dominance, highlighting the need to better manage water quality in order to prevent or reverse phase shifts.

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          Most cited references 94

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          Rising to the challenge of sustaining coral reef resilience.

          Phase-shifts from one persistent assemblage of species to another have become increasingly commonplace on coral reefs and in many other ecosystems due to escalating human impacts. Coral reef science, monitoring and global assessments have focused mainly on producing detailed descriptions of reef decline, and continue to pay insufficient attention to the underlying processes causing degradation. A more productive way forward is to harness new theoretical insights and empirical information on why some reefs degrade and others do not. Learning how to avoid undesirable phase-shifts, and how to reverse them when they occur, requires an urgent reform of scientific approaches, policies, governance structures and coral reef management. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Statistical design and analysis for a 'biological effects' study

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
                2167-8359
                29 November 2016
                2016
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Ecology, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology , Bremen, Germany
                [2 ]Faculty of Biology and Chemistry, University of Bremen , Bremen, Germany
                [3 ]Indonesian Research Center for Marine and Fisheries Products Processing and Biotechnology , Jakarta, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia
                Article
                2625
                10.7717/peerj.2625
                5127238
                © 2016 Baum et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funding
                Funded by: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
                Award ID: 03F0641A
                This study was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Grant No. 03F0641A, http://www.bmbf.de/en/) as part of the Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Marine Ecosystems (SPICE) project. The grant was received by AK. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Ecology
                Ecosystem Science
                Marine Biology

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