Coral Reefs

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 693–704 | Cite as

Spatial variability of UVR attenuation and bio-optical factors in shallow coral-reef waters of Malaysia

  • V. S. Kuwahara
  • R. Nakajima
  • B. H. R. Othman
  • M. R. M. Kushairi
  • T. Toda


Biologically diverse coral-reef ecosystems are both directly and indirectly susceptible to changes in the spectral ultraviolet radiation (UVR) distribution. The purpose of this study was to (1) measure the variability of UVR and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) penetration in the water above coral reefs around the Malaysian peninsula, (2) measure the variability and distribution of UVR-specific biogeochemical factors, and (3) determine the impact of biogeochemical variability as it affects the UVR:PAR ratio. Downwelling UVR and PAR irradiance and bio-optically derived biogeochemical factors were measured at 14 coral survey stations around the Malaysian peninsula from August 10–29, 2007. The West Coast was characterized by relatively shallow mean 10% UV-B (320 nm) penetration (1.68 ± 1.12 m), high chlorophyll (3.00 ± 4.72 μg l−1), high chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM; 6.61 ± 3.31 ppb), high particulate organic carbon (POC; 190.65 ± 97.99 mg m−3), and low dissolved organic carbon (DOC; 1.34 ± 0.65 mg m−3). By contrast, the East Coast was characterized by relatively deep mean 10% UV-B penetration (5.03 ± 2.19 m), low chlorophyll (0.34 ± 0.22 μg l−1), low CDOM (1.45 ± 0.44 ppb), low POC (103.21 ± 37.93 mg m−3), and relatively high DOC (1.91 ± 1.03 mg m−3). The UVR:PAR ratio was relatively higher on the East Coast relative to the West Coast, suggesting variable concentrations of UVR-specific absorbing components. At all sites, UVR attenuation coefficients showed significant correlations with CDOM, but were spatially dependent with regard to chlorophyll a, POC, and DOC. The results suggest that bio-optically significant CDOM and DOC factors are uncoupled in coral-reef communities of Malaysia. Furthermore, the results support prior studies that show chromophorically active concentrations of DOM and POC are significantly altering the amount of UVR penetration above coral reefs and may be notable factors in regulating intricate biogeochemical cycles around benthic coral communities in Malaysia.


Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) Dissolved organic matter (DOC) Inherent optical properties (IOP) 



This study was partially supported by a grant from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for the Multilateral Cooperative Research Program, Coastal Oceanography, awarded to Prof. S. Nishida, Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo. We thank the technical assistance of A. B. Shamsul and S. Zuhaimi of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for their excellent support throughout the entire survey period. We would also like to acknowledge T. Yoshida, T. Maekawa, T. Furukawa, A. Nakayama, L. P. Foong, D. Nishiyama, K. Kitazawa and Dr. H. Miyaguchi for their respective assistance during the survey. This research was partially funded by the Open Research Program of Soka University, Japan and the JSPS/Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Research Grant UKM-GUP-ASPL-08-04-231.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. S. Kuwahara
    • 1
  • R. Nakajima
    • 2
  • B. H. R. Othman
    • 3
  • M. R. M. Kushairi
    • 4
  • T. Toda
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationSoka UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Engineering for Symbiosis, Faculty of EngineeringSoka UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Marine Ecosystem Research Centre, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  4. 4.Faculty of Science and Environmental TechnologyUniversiti Industri SelangorShah AlamMalaysia

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