Skip to main content

The Coral Triangle Initiative: what are we missing? A case study from Aceh

  • Edi Rudi (a1), Stuart J. Campbell (a2), Andrew S. Hoey (a3) (a4), Nur Fadli (a1), Matthew Linkie (a5) and Andrew H. Baird (a3)...

The Coral Triangle Initiative is an ambitious attempt to conserve the marine biodiversity hotspot known as the Coral Triangle. However, the reef fauna in many nearby regions remains poorly explored and, consequently, the focus on the Coral Triangle risks overlooking other areas of high conservation significance. One region of potential significance, Aceh, Indonesia, has not been visited by coral taxonomists since the Dutch colonial period. Here we document the species richness of scleractinian corals of Pulau Weh, Aceh. We also compare the species richness of the genus Acropora at 3–5 sites in each of nine regions in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Although dominated by widespread Indo-Pacific species, the coral fauna of Pulau Weh is also the eastern and western boundary for many Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean species, respectively. We identified a total of 133 scleractinian species, of which three have been previously recorded only in the western Indian Ocean and five are presently undescribed. The mean species richness of the Acropora at Pulau Weh is similar to regions within the Coral Triangle. This high species richness plus the high proportion of endemics suggests that the Andaman Sea is of similarly high conservation value to the Coral Triangle. We suggest that an international initiative similar to the Coral Triangle Initiative is required to conserve this region, which includes the territorial waters of six countries.

Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail
Hide All
Allen G.R. (2008) Conservation hotspots of biodiversity and endemism for Indo-Pacific coral reef fishes. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 18, 541556.
Allen G.R. & Adrim M. (2003) Coral reef fishes of Indonesia. Zoological Studies, 42, 172.
Ardiwijaya R.L., Kartawijaya T., Setiawan F., Prasetia R., Yulianto I., Herdiana Y. et al. (2008) An Assessment of the Coral Reefs of Kayoa Islands, Halmahera Seascape, Coral Triangle, Indonesia. Wildlife Conservation Society–Marine Program Indonesia, Bogor, Indonesia.
Baird A.H., Bellwood D.R., Connell J.H., Cornell H.V., Hughes T.P., Karlson R.H. & Rosen B.R. (2002) Coral reef biodiversity and conservation. Science, 296, 10261027.
Baird A.H., Campbell S.J., Anggoro A.W., Ardiwijaya R.L., Fadli N., Herdiana Y. et al. (2005) Acehnese reefs in the wake of the Asian tsunami. Current Biology, 15, 19261930.
Bellwood D.R. & Hughes T.P. (2001) The state of coral reef science – response. Science, 293, 19971997.
Brown B.E. (2007) Coral reefs of the Andaman Sea—an integrated perspective. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 45, 173194.
Clifton J. (2009) Science, funding and participation: key issues for marine protected area networks and the Coral Triangle Initiative. Environmental Conservation, 36, 9196.
Connolly S.R., Hughes T.P., Bellwood D.R. & Karlson R.H. (2005) Community structure of corals and reef fishes at multiple scales. Science, 309, 13631365.
DeBoer T.S., Subia M.D., Ambariyanto Erdmann M.V., Kovitvongsa K. & Barber P.H. (2008) Phylogeography and limited genetic connectivity in the endangered boring giant clam across the Coral Triangle. Conservation Biology, 22, 12551266.
Fisher R., Radford B.T., Knowlton N., Brainard R.E., Michaelis F.B. & Caley M.J. (2011) Global mismatch between research effort and conservation needs of tropical coral reefs. Conservation Letters, 4, 6472.
LaJeunesse T.C., Pettay D.T., Sampayo E.M., Phongsuwan N., Brown B., Obura D.O. et al. (2010) Long-standing environmental conditions, geographic isolation and host-symbiont specificity influence the relative ecological dominance and genetic diversification of coral endosymbionts in the genus Symbiodinium . Journal of Biogeography, 37, 785800.
Roberts C.M., McClean C.J., Veron J.E.N., Hawkins J.P., Allen G.R., McAllister D.E. et al. (2002) Marine biodiversity hotspots and conservation priorities for tropical reefs. Science, 295, 12801284.
Todd P.A., Ong X. & Chou L.M. (2010) Impacts of pollution on marine life in Southeast Asia. Biodiversity and Conservation, 19, 10631082.
Veron J.E.N. (1995) Corals in Space and Time. Southwood Press, Sydney, Australia.
Veron J.E.N. (2000) Corals of the World. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia.
Veron J.E.N., DeVantier L., Turak E., Green D.H., Kinnmonth S., Stafford-Smith M. & Peterson N. (2009) Delineating the Coral Triangle. Galaxea, 11, 91100.
Wallace A.R. (1869) The Malay Archipelago. Macmillan, London, UK.
Wallace C.C. (1999) Staghorn Corals of the World. CSIRO, Collingwood, Australia.
Wallace C.C. & Muir P.P. (2005) Biodiversity of the Indian Ocean from the perspective of staghorn corals (Acropora spp.). Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 34, 4249.
Recommend this journal

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

  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Rudi Supplementary Material

 PDF (42 KB)
42 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 34 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 244 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.