Impacts of natural disturbances on the population dynamics of the sea urchin Diadema setosum at Khang Khao Island, the Upper Gulf of Thailand

Authors

  • Sittiporn Pengsakun Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Ramkhamhaeng University Marine Biodiversity Research Group Department of Biology, Faculty of Science Ramkhamhaeng University
  • Anirut Klomjit Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ramkhamhaeng University
  • Makamas Sutthacheep Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ramkhamhaeng University
  • Thamasak Yeemin Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ramkhamhaeng University
  • Charernmee Chamchoy Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ramkhamhaeng University
  • Wasana Phantewee

Keywords:

Population dynamics, Diadema setosum, Khang Khao Island, Bioerosion

Abstract

The sea urchin, Diadema setosum, is a dominant species commonly found in coral communities in the Upper Gulf Thailand. It plays a major role in the bioerosion of coral reefs by feeding on epilithic algae, enabling coral settlement and growth. This research aims to study the population dynamics of the sea urchin D. setosum and the change of bioerosion rates at Khang Khao Island, Chonburi Province. Field surveys were conducted during 1998 - 2016 using belt transect method (50m x 1m). The results revealed that population densities of D. setosum varied among years (One-way ANOVA, p<0.05). The highest density was found in 2009 (11.34 ind/m2), while the lowest density was detected in 2011 (4.02 ind/m2) because of the impact of strong freshwater runoffs, followed by a recovery in 2012.The average bioerosion rates observed in 1998 (1.05±0.33kg CaCO3/m2/year) were significantly lower than that observed in 2016 (2.55±1.07kg CaCO3/m2/year) (t-test, p<0.01) reflecting that the higher bioerosion rate is related to an increased sea urchin’s population, as well as body size. This study provides baseline data on population dynamics of D. setosum in relation to reef bioerosion as a proxy for the management of coral reef ecosytems.

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Published

2021-04-30

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