E.Africa floods reef effects: summary of replies so far.

K.H. von Kaufmann kenn at mail.bogo.co.uk
Fri Feb 6 15:15:37 EST 1998

Dear Coral-listers,

Here is the information I have received so far on the effects of the floods
in East Africa on local reefs.  Several people asked for information and I
hope it may also be of interest to other list subscribers. Nothing specific
on the current floods effects, but am still looking and will get round to
reading some of the publications listed at the end.

If you have internet www access, you may want to check the ocean colour
page at seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov. There is access to the NASA DAAC center
which distributes seawifs data, and you may browse images online for the
area of concern.
[have looked at this site. V good for ocean imagery, such as phytoplankton
seasonal changes.  Nothing so far on the EA floods]
I was struck by how silted up the northern reefs are, major influences 
being the Tana River and the generally north-bound currents. The 
latter are however reversed during the ?NE monsoon period. There has 
certainly been argument about the role of silt-laden seasonally south-bound 
currents onthe Watamu reefs, but I have not seen mention of impacts 
other than local ones (e.g. Kilifi?) further south than that. 
The East African Wildlife Society often has articles on the reefs in their
magazine "Swara."
The East African Wild Life Society,
P.O. Box 20110,
Nairobi, KENYA
Phone: +254 2748170
Fax: +254 2746868
E-Mail: Eawls at elci.gn.apc.org
I'm a coral biologist working in Mombasa trying to monitor the effects of 
various stressors on coral reefs.  I have recorded a local mortality event at 
the mouth of a temporary river/stream caused by flooding over a shallow 
back reef lagoon, and imagine it's a fairly common phenomenon at odd 
points along the coast.  However I haven't seen any large scale impacts, and 
none where water depths are greater than 30 cm. or so.  
Dr. Tim McClanahan responds:
.... We have a number of study sites for studying coral, fish, algae,
sponges, snails and a few 
other things in or just outside of the Malindi Marine park as well as many
study sites that might be affected by runoff. So, yes we have a 
reasonable amount of information on the status of reefs in Kenya and 
will hopefully be able to determine the effect of these changes on them.  
I will attach a list of publications of which a few will interest you.  
Our most recent publication is the one in the Journal of Experimental 
Marine Biology and Ecology on sediments which summarizes a long-term 

Coral Reef Conservation Project Publications:
McClanahan, T.R., Glaesel, H. Rubens, J. & Kiambo, R. 1997. The effects of
traditional fisheries management on fisheries yields and the coral-reef
ecosystems of southern Kenya.  Environmental Conservation 24(2): 105-120
McClanahan, T.R. & Obura, D. 1997. Sedimentation effects on shallow coral
communities in Kenya. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.
209: 103-122
McClanahan, T.R. 1988. Seasonality in East Africa's coastal waters. Marine
Ecology Progress Series. 44: 191-199.
McClanahan, T.R. & Muthiga, N.A. 1988. Changes in Kenyan coral reef
community structure and function due to exploitation. Hydrobiologia 66:

McClanahan, T.R. 1997. Empty Ark? Swara 20(2): 7.
McClanahan, T.R. 1997. Letter from Under the Sea. Wildlife Conservation.
100 (2): 6-7
McClanahan, T.R. 1997. Fish Critical to Coral Reefs. Wildlife Conservation
100 (1): 8
McClanahan, T.R. 1995. The Shell Game. Wildlife Conservation 
McClanahan, T.R. 1995. Pale Corals. Wildlife Conservation 98(1):10.
McClanahan, T.R. 1995. Creation of a Marine Park. Swara 17(6): 18-20.
McClanahan, T.R. 1994. Snails' Pace. Sea Frontiers 40(4):46-49.
McClanahan, T.R. 1992. Triggerfish: Coral reef keystone predators. Swara
15: 15:16
McClanahan, T.R. 1991. Conservation of Tropical Marine Molluscs. Reef
Encounter 9: 12-13.
McClanahan, T.R. 1990. Are Conservationists fish bigots? Bioscience
(Viewpoint): 40: 2.  
McClanahan, T.R. 1990. Shell collecting and coral reefs. Swara 13(2):8-9.
McClanahan, T.R. & Muthiga, N.A. 1988. Kenya's coastal fisheries. Swara
11(1): 8-9.
McClanahan, T.R. 1987. Overfishing and coral reef degradation: a
preliminary report from East Africa. Conservation Biology 1(2): 97-99.

Technical Reports
Obura, D. & McClanahan, T.R. (1994). Status of Malindi Marine Park: Study
of the 1991 and 1992 Sabaki River Sediment Discharge on the Park's Coral
Community.  Coral Reef Conservation Project Report


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