Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

High sedimentary oxygen consumption indicates that sewage input from small islands drives benthic community shifts on overfished reefs

  • AMANDA K. FORD (a1) (a2), NANNE VAN HOYTEMA (a1) (a2), BRADLEY R. MOORE (a3), LINA PANDIHAU (a4), CHRISTIAN WILD (a2) and SEBASTIAN C. A. FERSE (a1)...
Summary
SUMMARY

Small-island coral reef ecosystems are usually closely coupled to the activities of human inhabitants. Ahus Island (Papua New Guinea) is an isolated Pacific island with a rapidly growing population, heavy reliance on marine resources and limited infrastructure. We hypothesized that untreated sewage was driving distinct benthic assemblages around Ahus and neighbouring uninhabited Onetah. At sites with varying proximities to beach toilets, fore-reef herbivorous fish biomass and benthic composition were measured alongside reef-flat sedimentary oxygen consumption (SOC); a high SOC rate reflects high organic input into coastal waters, thus serving as a potential indicator of sewage input. Fish biomass was low (17.1–20.1 g m–2), but consistent between sites. However, cyanobacteria dominated the fore-reef closest to toilets (62 ± 3%) with highest reef-flat SOC, whereas hard corals dominated furthest away (63 ± 1%), where SOC was lowest. To our knowledge, this is the first study that used SOC to detect local differences in sewage pollution. The results indicate that whilst corals can maintain their dominance on overfished reefs, additional sewage stress may drive pronounced benthic shifts, highlighting the urgency to improve small-island waste management.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      High sedimentary oxygen consumption indicates that sewage input from small islands drives benthic community shifts on overfished reefs
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      High sedimentary oxygen consumption indicates that sewage input from small islands drives benthic community shifts on overfished reefs
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      High sedimentary oxygen consumption indicates that sewage input from small islands drives benthic community shifts on overfished reefs
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Amanda K. Ford e-mail: amanda.ford@leibniz-zmt.de
Footnotes
Hide All
Supplementary material can be found online at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892917000054
Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Albert , J.M. O'Neil , J.W. Udy , K.S. Ahern , C.M. O'Sullivan & W.C. Dennison (2005) Blooms of the cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula in coastal Queensland, Australia: disparate sites, common factors. Marine Pollution Bulletin 51: 428437.

E.S. Barnes (1973) Sewage pollution from tourist hotels in Jamaica. Marine Pollution Bulletin 4: 102105.

H.J. Brocke , L. Polerecky , D. de Beer , M. Weber , J. Claudet & M.M. Nugues (2015a) Organic matter degradation drives benthic cyanobacterial mat abundance on Caribbean coral reefs. PLoS One 10: e0125445.

H.J. Brocke , F. Wenzhoefer , D. de Beer , B. Mueller , F.C. van Duyl & M.M. Nugues (2015b) High dissolved organic carbon release by benthic cyanobacterial mats in a Caribbean reef ecosystem. Scientific Reports 5: 8852.

U. Cardini , V.N. Bednarz , R.A. Foster & C. Wild (2014) Benthic N2 fixation in coral reefs and the potential effects of human-induced environmental change. Ecology and Evolution 4: 17061727.

R.L. Catala (1957) Report on the Gilbert Islands: some aspects of human ecology. Atoll Research Bulletin 59: 256.

J. Cinner (2005) Socioeconomic factors influencing customary marine tenure in the Indo-Pacific. Ecology and Society 10: 36.

T.F. Cooper , J.P. Gilmour & K.E. Fabricius (2009) Bioindicators of changes in water quality on coral reefs: review and recommendations for monitoring programmes. Coral Reefs 28: 589606.

K.E. Fabricius , T.F. Cooper , C. Humphrey , S. Uthicke , G. De'ath , J. Davidson , H. LeGrand , A. Thompson & B. Schaffelke (2012) A bioindicator system for water quality on inshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Pollution Bulletin 65: 320332.

A.M. Friedlander & E.E. DeMartini (2002) Contrasts in density, size, and biomass of reef fishes between the northwestern and the main Hawaiian islands: the effects of fishing down apex predators. Marine Ecology Progress Series 230: 253264.

R.J. Hamilton , M. Giningele , S. Aswani & J.L. Ecochard (2012) Fishing in the dark – Local knowledge, night spearfishing and spawning aggregations in the Western Solomon Islands. Biological Conservation 145: 246257.

T.P. Hughes , M.J. Rodrigues , D.R. Bellwood , D. Ceccarelli , O. Hoegh-Guldberg , L. McCook , N. Moltschaniwskyj , M.S. Pratchett , R.S. Steneck & B. Willis (2007) Phase shifts, herbivory, and the resilience of coral reefs to climate change. Current Biology 17: 360365.

D.I. Kline , N.M. Kuntz , M. Breitbart , N. Knowlton & F. Rohwer (2006) Role of elevated organic carbon levels and microbial activity in coral mortality. Marine Ecology Progress Series 314: 119125.

I.B. Kuffner & V.J. Paul (2004) Effects of the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula on larval recruitment of the reef corals Acropora surculosa and Pocillopora damicornis . Coral Reefs 23: 455458.

M.A. MacNeil , N.A.J. Graham , J.E. Cinner , S.K. Wilson , I.D. Williams , J. Maina , S. Newman , A.M. Friedlander , S. Jupiter , N.V.C. Polunin & T.R. McClanahan (2015) Recovery potential of the world's coral reef fishes. Nature 520: 341344.

D.G. Nagle & V.J. Paul (1998) Chemical defense of a marine cyanobacterial bloom. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 225: 2938.

G.A. Piniak , N.D. Fogarty , C.M. Addison & W.J. Kenworthy (2005) Fluorescence census techniques for coral recruits. Coral Reefs 24: 496500.

M.S. Pratchett , A.S. Hoey & S.K. Wilson (2014) Reef degradation and the loss of critical ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reef fishes. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 7: 3743.

M.J. Risk , B.E. Lapointe , O.A. Sherwood & B.J. Bedford (2009) The use of δ 15 N in assessing sewage stress on coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58: 793802.

G. Roff & P.J. Mumby (2012) Global disparity in the resilience of coral reefs. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27: 404413.

W.N. Venables & B.D. Ripley (2002) Modern Applied Statistics with S. Fourth edition. New York, NY, USA: Springer.

S.L. Wear & R.V. Thurber (2015) Sewage pollution: mitigation is key for coral reef stewardship. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1355: 1530.

H. Wickham (2009) ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis. New York, NY, USA: Springer Science and Business Media.

C. Wild , M. Rasheed , C. Jantzen , P. Cook , U. Struck , M. Huettel & A. Boetius (2005) Benthic metabolism and degradation of natural particulate organic matter in carbonate and silicate reef sands of the northern Red Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 298: 6978.

C. Wild , C. Jantzen , U. Struck , O. Hoegh-Guldberg & M. Huettel (2008) Biogeochemical responses following coral mass spawning on the Great Barrier Reef: pelagic–benthic coupling. Coral Reefs 27: 123132.

L.P. Zann (1994) The status of coral reefs in South Western Pacific Islands. Marine Pollution Bulletin 29: 5261.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Ford supplementary material
Figure S1

 Unknown (866 KB)
866 KB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 174 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 326 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 28th February 2017 - 25th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Erratum