The Impact of Scuba Diving on Marine Biodiversity

1341 Words Jul 13th, 2018 6 Pages
The impact of scuba diving on marine biodiversity especially the coral communities at the Two mile reef by Sodwana bay
Coral reefs are celebrated for their beauty, diversity, the enormous assemblage of life that they sustain and for providing of several vital services to society such as coastal defense, fisheries, ecotourism as well as products for construction and medicinal mixtures (Barker and Roberts, 2004). Regardless of their apparent value, universally the world over coral reefs are in decline due to a varied assortment of anthropogenic stresses such as scuba diving which will be the emphasis in this study (Barker and Roberts, 2004). The positive aspect of diving tourism is the economic gain from user fees which help recompense
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Corals are the dominant organisms on thriving coral reefs and defines the nature of the physiographic zones within the reef by their horizontal or vertical sequence resulting from the influence of changing abiotic factors (Mergner, 1971).Williams (1989) states that the alcyonarian contribution on Zululand reefs is dominated by the three genera Sinularia, Sarcophyton, and Lobophytum, with a relatively minor contribution being made by genera such as Dendronephthya, Nephthea, Alcyonium, Clavularia, Cladiella, Anthelia, Rumphella, Menella and Leptogorgia.
According to Tratalos and Austin (2001) corals, especially the scleractinian, which create the substratum and structural basis of coral reefs, are vulnerable to damage as a result of human recreational activities. These corals consist of a carbonate substructure which is relatively slow growing and brittle allowing their polyps to be easily crushed (Tratalos and Austin, 2001). Divers damage coral mostly through direct contact, but could also cause harm by stirring up benthic sediment, thereby subjecting coral polyps to increased sedimentation loads (Neil,1990; Rogers, 1990). The establishment of parks have a tendency to attract divers (Van’t Hoff, 1985).Thereby implying that the possibility of benefits made through the establishment of the parks for coral communities will be lost as a result of growing levels of recreational use (Tratalos and
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