Pollution of Coastal Areas of Jakarta Bay: Water Quality and Biological Responses

Andreas Kunzmann, Zainal Arifin, Gunilla Baum


Worldwide, coral reefs are challenged by multiple stressors due to growing urbanization, industrialization and coastal development. Coral reefs along the Thousand Islands off Jakarta, one of the largest megacities worldwide, have degraded dramatically over recent decades. The shift and decline in coral cover and composition has been extensively studied with a focus on large-scale gradients (i.e. regional drivers), however special focus on local drivers in shaping spatial community composition is still lacking. The aim of our study is to investigate the spatial impact of anthropogenic stressors on local and regional scales on coral reefs north of Jakarta. Results indicate that the direct impact of Jakarta is mainly restricted to inshore reefs, separating reefs in Jakarta Bay from reefs along the Thousand Islands further north. A spatial patchwork of differentially degraded reefs is present along the islands as a result of localized anthropogenic effects rather than regional gradients. Pollution is the main anthropogenic stressor, with over 80% of variation in benthic community composition driven by sedimentation rate, NO2, PO4 and Chlorophyll a. Surfactants and diesel-borne compounds from sewage and bilge water discharges are common pollutants. Responses to combinations of selected pollutant with elevated temperature (+3 °C) were determined in the metabolic performance of the coral reef fish Siganus guttatus. During combined exposure, metabolic depression was observed. Effects of pollutants were not amplified by elevated temperature. In a study on dissolved inorganic nutrients (DIN), turbidity (NTU), and sedimentation, supplemented by measurements of photosynthetic yield and, for the first time, respiratory electron transport system (ETS) activity of two dominant soft coral genera, Sarcophyton spp. and Nephthea spp., the findings suggest water quality controls the relative abundance and physiology of dominant soft corals in JB and may thus contribute to phase shifts from hard to soft coral dominance, highlighting the need to better manage water quality in order to prevent or reverse phase shifts. We conclude that the spatial structure and health of reefs is directly related to intense anthropogenic pressure from local as well as regional sources. Therefore, improved spatial management that accounts for both local and regional stressors is needed for effective marine conservation.


benthic community composition, local stressors, spatial management, coral reefs, anthropogenic influence


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14203/mri.v43i1.299


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