Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 375–417

Quantitative Analyse von Korallengemeinschaften des Sanganeb-Atolls (mittleres Rotes Meer). I. Die Besiedlungsstruktur hydrodynamisch unterschiedlich exponierter Außen- und Innenriffe

  • H. Mergner
  • H. Schuhmacher

DOI: 10.1007/BF01987409

Cite this article as:
Mergner, H. & Schuhmacher, H. Helgolander Meeresunters (1985) 39: 375. doi:10.1007/BF01987409

Quantitative analysis of coral communities of Sanganeb-Atoll (central Red Sea). I. The community structure of outer and inner reefs exposed to different hydrodynamic regimes


The Sanganeb-Atoll off Port Sudan is an elongate annular reef which rests on a probably raised block in the fracture zone along the Red Sea-graben. Its gross morphology was most likely formed by subaerial erosion during low sealevel conditions. Features of its topography and hydrography are described. The prevailing wind waves are from NE, Hence, the outer and inner reef slopes are exposed to different hydrodynamic conditions. The sessile benthos was analysed using the quadrat method. Four test quadrats (5×5 m each) were selected on the outer and inner slopes at a depth of 10 m along a SSW-NNE transect across the atoll. Cnidaria were by far the most dominating group; coralline algae, Porifera, Bryozoa and Ascidia, however, counted for just under 3 % living cover. Light and temperature intensities did not differ significantly at the sites studied; water movement, however, decreased in the following order: TQ IV (outer NE side of the reef ring) was exposed to strong swell and surf; TQ II (inner side of the SW-ring) was met by a strong longreef current; TQ I was situated on the outer lee of the SW-atoll ring and TQ III in the inner lee of the NE-side. This hydrodynamic gradient correlates with the composition of the coral communities from predominantly branching Scleractinia (staghorn-like and otherAcropora species andPocillopora) in TQ IV, through aLobophyllia, Porites andXenia-dominated community in TQ II, and a mixed community with an increasing percentage of xeniid and alcyoniid soft corals in TQ I, to a community in TQ III which is dominated by the soft coralsSinularia andDendronephthya. The cnidarian cover ranged between 42.4 and 56.6 % whereby the two exposed test quadrats had a higher living coverage than the protected ones. In total, 2649 colonies comprising 124 species of stony, soft and hydrocorals were recorded by an elaborate method of accurate in-situ mapping. The 90 scleractinian species found include 3 species new to the Red Sea and 11 hitherto unknown species from its central part. Only 7 cnidarian species covered large areas, forming aXenia macrospiculata-zone in TQ I, a Lobophyllia corymbosa-zone in TQ II, aSinularia-Dendronephthya-zone in TQ III and anAcropora-Pocillopora verrucosa-zone in TQ IV. Hydrodynamic exposition and ratio of genus abundanceAcropora: Montipora are closely correlated: on the windward side (TQ IV) it is 943:4, but on the leeward side (TQ I) 18:208. Apart from the taxonomic and quantitative distribution of species and colonies, types of growth form and categories of the dead substrate are given. Since soft corals do not contribute to the reef framework, the distribution of Scleractinia and Alcyonaria indicates that at Sanganeb-Atoll reef substance is mainly generated on the windward side.

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© Biologische Anstalt Helgoland 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Mergner
    • 1
  • H. Schuhmacher
    • 2
  1. 1.Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Lehrstuhl für Spezielle ZoologieBochumBundesrepublik Deutschland
  2. 2.Universität GHS Essen, Lehrstuhl für HydrobiologieEssenBundesrepublik Deutschland