The distribution of massive <i>Porites</i> in the moat of Miyara fringing reef, Ishigaki Island, Japan

  • Satoh T.
    Department of Geographical Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University
  • Hori N.
    Department of Geographical Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University
  • Suzuki A.
    Marine Geology Department, Geological Survey of Japan, Agency of Industrial Science and Technology

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Other Title
  • 石垣島宮良湾の裾礁礁池における塊状ハマサンゴの分布特性


The spatial distribution and morphologies of massive Porites colonies were investigated over a large area (1100m×200m) in the sandy moat of Miyara fringing reef, Ishigaki Island, Japan. Massive Porites (diameter>50cm) showed a preferential distribution for deeper depths (i. e., 2 to 3m). This distribution pattern suggested that massive Porites colonies were transported to deeper more stable habitats, as “mobile colonies”. Twenty-three percent of the colonies were mushroom shaped, with narrow stems attached to the substratum. Significant portions of mushroom shaped colonies (69%) were dislodged and 66% of them were tilted toward the dominant direction of water flow. The mushroom morphologies appear related to the high mobility of sandy sediments around the colonies, which interferes with ordinary growth of the colony base. Mobile colonies seems important for maintaining local coral populations in sandy habitats, which are often unsuitable habitats for larval settlement. In this case, physical environmental factors, such as water movement and micro-geomorphology, influence the distribution and population structure of coral communities in the sandy shallow habitats.



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