Devastation of fauna.High SST/solar radiation???

Ruby Moothien Pillay kamlaruby at
Fri Mar 8 11:54:06 EST 2002

Dear coral listers

Something strange happened to one of our study sites recently on the eastern
coast of the island. In fact we noticed at one of our shallowest monitoring
station (approx.1metre) that most of the tabular corals had bleached
completely and died and also most adult eels,holothurians, octopus,
 juvenile fish and crustaceans and so on had died and were either floating
to the surface or lying on the sea bed. The striking thing was the absence
of alive/dead large sized fishes. However, only Stegastes spp. were alive
among the branching corals.
Can a sudden rise in SST or solar radiation or both cause such
devastation of the  fauna?does this explain the absence of large fish which
might had had time to swim away???But why were Stegastes spp. so
resistant?We have excluded things like illegal fishing (poisons etc ) as
this is most improbable as we noticed that most foliose Montiporas within
that site and corals (even tabular ) at a nearby relatively deeper site
(1.5-2 metres) were not affected.
Thank you for your comments

Ruby Moothien Pillay
Project Officer
Mauritius Oceanography Institute
4th floor, France Centre, Victoria Avenue
Quatre Bornes, Mauritius
Tel:+427 4434  Fax: +427 4433

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