Studies on core samples of the genus Porites in the northern Gulf of Aqaba revealed marked short-term variations in the growth rate of this coral over the last 20 years, Individual growth rates show high variations, even among colonies growing next to each other, These variations
might be attributed to locally restricted differences in the reef environment, or to endogenous differences between the individual colonies, A general increase in linear extension rate was observed for colonies situated in a relatively undisturbed reef area between 1 m and 15 m water depth.
Over the time period 1972–1992, major variations in climate conditions that could have affected coral growth were not observed. Reduction of terrestrial sediment influx is a possible reason for the accelerated growth rates. The effect of intense sediment loading on the rate of coral
growth within a stressed environment is demonstrated for one Porites-core taken from a colony growing in the vicinity of the phosphate loading berth at Aqaba. The drastic decrease in growth rate at this location during the observed time span stands in contrast with the general development
of Aqaba's reefs and is most probably the result of sediment stress.
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