Coral Reefs

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 17–34 | Cite as

Hydrodynamic characteristics of a fringing coral reef on the east coast of Ishigaki Island, southwest Japan



To investigate the characteristics of currents on a fringing coral reef, a field survey was conducted, mostly under weak wind conditions in summer, on the east coast of Ishigaki Island, southwest Japan, which is encompassed by well-developed fringing reefs. For the same study period, numerical simulations of the current were also performed using a shallow water turbulent flow model with high accuracy reef bathymetry data, which were estimated from high-resolution imagery obtained from satellite remote sensing. The numerical simulation results showed good agreement with the observed data and revealed that the currents have an appreciable magnitude of tide-averaged velocities, even during neap tides, which are governed mostly by wave set-up effects. The results also indicated that temporal variations in velocity and water surface elevation during a tide cycle in the reef exhibit highly asymmetrical patterns; in spring tides especially, the velocities around channels indicate rapid transitions over a short period from peak ebb flow to peak flood flow. The simulations also indicated that a big channel penetrating deeply into the reef attracts the tide-averaged mean flow, even from distant areas of the reef.


Fringing reefs Water currents Numerical analysis Hydrographic surveys Japan Ishigaki Island 



The authors would like to express their deep thanks to Dr. Saki Harii of The University of Queensland, Mr. Youichi Suzuki of the East Japan Railway Company, Mr. Jun Mitsui of the Tetra Company, and Mr. Masayoshi Taira for their valuable help with the field survey. This research was financially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (No. 14205071 and No. 15254002).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Climate Variations Research ProgramJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Environmental Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Geodetic Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines

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