MEPS 456:113-126 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09682

Coral community composition and reef development at the Similan Islands, Andaman Sea, in response to strong environmental variations

Gertraud M. Schmidt1,*, Niphon Phongsuwan2, Carin Jantzen1, Cornelia Roder3, Somkiat Khokiattiwong2, Claudio Richter1

1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
2Phuket Marine Biological Center, 51 Sakdidet Road, 83000 Phuket, Thailand
34700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

ABSTRACT: The Similan Islands, a Thai archipelago in the Andaman Sea located near the shelf break, are subjected to frequent (up to several events per hour) and abrupt changes in physico-chemical conditions, particularly during the dry season (NE monsoon, January through April) and to an intense monsoon season with strong surface wave action (May to October). The exposed west slopes of the islands feature more coral species, but lack a carbonate reef framework. By contrast, the sheltered east sides show a complex reef framework dominated by massive Porites. Our results suggest that the sudden changes in temperature, pH and nutrients (drops of up to 10°C and 0.6 U and increases of up to 9.4 µmol NOx l−1, respectively) due to pulsed upwelling events may rival the importance of surface waves and storms in shaping coral distribution and reef development.


KEY WORDS: Benthic−pelagic coupling · Coral community · Similan Islands · Andaman Sea · Upwelling · Internal waves


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Cite this article as: Schmidt GM, Phongsuwan N, Jantzen C, Roder C, Khokiattiwong S, Richter C (2012) Coral community composition and reef development at the Similan Islands, Andaman Sea, in response to strong environmental variations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 456:113-126. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09682

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