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Biogeographic variation in coral species diversity on coral reefs in three regions of Indonesia

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Abstract

. This paper assesses variation in coral species diversity within the Indonesian archipelago, and the influence of regional species pools, geomorphology and anthropogenic pollution on coral species diversity and occurrence. We obtained transects from 33 sites on 14 reefs in three regions of Indonesia: Ambon (Moluccas), South Sulawesi and the Java Sea. We determined the within-site species richness by using species-sampling curves. Cluster analysis and multi-dimensional scaling showed that land-based pollution was the primary determinant of coral species diversity and species occurrence on reefs. Relatively unaffected reference sites in eastern Indonesia were approximately 20% more diverse than Java Sea reference sites. Rare species formed a higher proportion of the coral fauna on eastern Indonesian sites, and eastern Indonesian apparent endemic species contributed approximately 25% of the total species pool sampled. Between-site variation in species occurrence was lower on Java Sea reefs than on eastern Indonesian reefs. A larger species pool in eastern Indonesia than in the Java Sea probably accounted for most of the difference in within-site species diversity between eastern Indonesian and Java Sea reference sites. High fishing intensity in the Java Sea, including destructive fishing practices, may have also contributed to reduced within-site species diversity on Java Sea reference reefs. Despite the fact that the Java Sea was exposed during Pleistocene lowstands, and was recolonized by marine organisms only within the last 10 000 years, coral species diversity and assemblage composition on the Java Sea reefs was largely similar to open ocean reefs in eastern Indonesia.
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Keywords: Biodiversity; Indonesia; Java Sea; coral; epeiric seas; land-based pollution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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