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Author Topic: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams  (Read 38945 times)

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Offline AdrianJ

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Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« on: January 02, 2005, 02:00:15 pm »
These diagrams represent our current understanding of the processes and habitats in Temperate Coastal Ecosystems. Please contribute to our understanding of these systems by making comments.
A larger flash version of this diagram is available by clicking on the diagrams.

Tropical Coastal Ecosystems




Tropical Coral Reef Ecosystems




Tropical Seagrass Ecosystems




Tropical Soft Sediment Ecosystems




Tropical Estuarine Ecosystems




Tropical Mangrove Ecosystems

« Last Edit: January 02, 2005, 02:04:20 pm by AdrianJ »

Offline smacauley

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2005, 11:05:41 am »
I think that in estuarine ecosystems a management priority should also be on reduction of toxicant use and production in watersheds and, in the future, bioremediation techniques may exist for toxicants that are present.

Offline jhepp

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2005, 02:10:55 pm »
I think for the coral reef ecosystem it is important to take into consideration the impact that tourists have on coral reefs.  With the advent of the use of protected areas as fishery management tools, this has also resulted in an increase in visitation at many of this tropical MPA's.  Controlling visitor use, numbers and increasing education amoung tour guides is fundamentally necessary to making sure that visitor impact is kept to an accepted minimum.

Offline rsorour

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2005, 02:12:00 pm »
In Coral Reef ecosystems, The detrimental effect of unregulated boating and diving activities should be taken into account. I understand that such a potential threat might not be considered as important or as priority interms of management as others (e.g global warming effects, sediment and nutrition runoffs, or overfishing). The Red Sea (case study), for instance, lacks freshwater runoffs, freshwater precipitation is minimal, and weather and sea conditions are optimal for coral reef growth. Coral bleaching has not been reported as a major threat in these region. What seems to be the problem there is unregulated diving tourism. In the Northern Red Sea (Egypt, Jordan, and Israel) diving tourism in considered as the major driving force for the economies of these resorts. I have seen areas on fringing reefs that were completely devastated by boat anchoring. These areas where once coral dominated reef sytems and now transformed to algal systems and coral rubble. Also, if these areas are visited by >100,000 divers a year, diver-induced physical damage could be high enough to suppress the system's ability to recover. Thereby, I think that some kind of emphasis should placed on the consequences of such a threat.

Offline Wgough

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2005, 09:56:55 pm »
Re: Coral Reef Ecosystems  -  some of this might have been mentioned in other comments but I thought it worthwhile to add since I just moved back from a tropical island (Guam) where its coral reef provides its protection against tsunamis and heavy seas caused by the numerous earthquakes that occur somewhat routinely nearby.  The reefs around this small island also are critical to the island's primary economic driver: tourism!  Along with tourism in a developing and fragile place like Guam, it re-emphasized the "tragedy of the commons" saying with its limited resource battling against islander's trying to survive.  Some of the management practices out there included or addressed:
 1)  Outreach / education:  meaning local government agencies and NGOs posted signs, handed out flyers and placed articles in the news paper regarding the sensitivity of the reefs.
 2)  Fishing:  local custom is hard to overcome but it is common practice there to walk across the reefs to fish on the outer edge (very destructive process)
 3)  Dive Boat /Recreation Boats anchoring on the reefs:  This is a big problem and has partially been mitigated by a number of permanently stationed mooring balls in several of the top spots.
 4)  SCUBA divers:  Many new and even experienced divers don't realize how sensitive the coral is as they break off pieces or land on them trying to maintain their buoyancy. 

    Finally, back to education and changing customs and ideology, a former government person there (not mentioning any names :)) had a channel made through the reef so that he could put a pier in and have boat access to his estate.  I guess he thought being so close to Asia that no one would notice such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.   They did, of course, but it just goes to show how hard it is to change ideology and customs in some places. 

Offline bfertig

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2005, 11:45:46 pm »
Tropical systems
A few minor points:
1)In addition to rapidly expanding urban areas and agricultural/grazing land uses, deforestation and habitat degradation often occurs via fragmentation, e.g. road building, even in remote areas.
2)What about the effects of the ornamental marine fish trade and the curio trade? Are these significant factors on rare species?
3)Fishing regulations should include regulating bycatch (both fish and marine birds) via fishing gear selectivity, depth control of nets, and minimizing the effects of 'ghost fishing', where lost nets and traps continue to catch organisms.
4)What of artificial reef building, e.g. rigs-to-reefs projects where decommissioned oil rigs or ships are sunk to encourage reef development.
5)Debris from urban areas due to damage caused in many tropical coastal areas due to natural disasters including tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, etc. What habitat/coastal damage does is cause? How long is it around for (due to cleanup, degradation, or transport). This would be a pulsed effect.

Offline dkidwell

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2005, 09:14:54 am »
In regards to the tropical mangrove ecosystem, I beleive that acquisition and protection of land can have multiple benieficial affects.  First, acquiring new lands along the coast will prevent the deforestation and loss of existing mangrove forests.  New lands will allow for the restoration of degraded or destroyed mangroves.  In addition to acquiring the narrow band of land where mangroves currently grow, an effort should be made to protect those lands surrounding the mangrove forests.  Even if this upland area measured only 30 meters in width, it would still act as a nutrient and sediment buffer.  The upland areas would also allow for future mangrove areas should sea level rise become a significant problem.

Offline agoldman

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Re: Tropical Coastal Ecosystem & Habitat Diagrams
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2005, 10:38:29 am »
Coral Reef Ecosystems:
I also believe that tourism should be included here as a major threat to these ecosystems.  Many reefs have been degraded from large numbers of snorkelers/SCUBA divers visiting them.  Even the anchoring of these boats for the diving industry can cause damage if the anchor hits the reef instead of the sandy bottom.  In highly dived areas, there ahould be more mooring buoys that boats can tie to.  Also, diver education should be mandatory for all those getting SCUBA certified, and large snorkeling/diving enterprises should have to conduct education programs to the tourists prior to them getting in the water, on how they can minimize their negative environmental impact.  It is amazing how many people do not know that coral is a live animal, not realizing that if it is kicked, broken off for a souvenir, etc., that it can die and have devastating effects to the ecosystem.