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Mar Environ Res 2013 Apr 01;85:45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2012.12.009.
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Species-diverse coral communities on an artificial substrate at a tuna farm in Amami, Japan.

Hata H , Hirabayashi I , Hamaoka H , Mukai Y , Omori K , Fukami H .

Tuna-farming is expanding worldwide, necessitating the monitoring/managing of its effects on the natural environment. In Japan, tuna-farming is conducted on coral reefs that have been damaged by mass-bleaching events and crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks. This study focused on the coral community on an artificial substrate of tuna-farm to reveal the possible effects of tuna-farming on the natural environment. Corals flourished on ropes suspended in the farm in the Amami Islands, southern Japan. These were moored 3 m below the sea-surface in 50-m-deep water. The coral community on the rope was analyzed and compared with those on natural substrata on two adjacent COTS-damaged reefs and with that in a protected reef. Corals were monitored throughout a year. Sixty coral species grew on the ropes, that corresponds to 27.3% of the 220 species known from Amami. The coral community was unique, dominated by massive faviid corals. On the ropes, the water temperature rarely exceeded 30.0 °C and no corals on the rope were severely bleached or covered by sedimentation during the observations. The tuna-farm infrastructure provided corals with a suitable habitat, and species-rich coral communities were established. These coral communities are an important node connecting tuna-farms and the natural environment.

PubMed ID: 23321299
Article link: Mar Environ Res

Genes referenced: LOC100887844