Water Circulation in a Fringing Reef and Implications for Coral Distribution and Resilience

  • Hiroya Yamano
  • Hiroshi Hata
  • Toshihiro Miyajima
  • Ken Nozaki
  • Ken Kato
  • Akira Negishi
  • Masayuki Tamura
  • Hajime Kayanne
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Shiraho Reef, Ishigaki Island, Southwest Japan is characterized by (1) a lack of prominent channels, which causes ponding at low tide, (2) its location in a monsoon area, which causes the dominant wind direction to change seasonally, and (3) its orientation facing the Pacific Ocean, where swells originate in distant stormy areas in addition to those produced by local winds. The water circulation observed during three separate periods and the estimated residence time in Shiraho Reef are very sensitive to all three factors. Advanced satellite technology contributes significantly to the long-term monitoring of ocean swell states, and the water circulation observed during the three periods can be classified using swell state (high and low swell) and wind conditions (northerly and southerly winds). During high swell states, the water residence time ranged from 3 to 8 h. The shorter time occurred when ponding did not occur, whereas the longer time occurred when ponding was observed. The water circulation and residence time likely affect the coral distribution and resilience to bleaching.


Bleaching Coral reef Distribution Ishigaki Island Japan Resilience Water circulation 



We are deeply indebted to the Fuyo Ocean Development and Engineering Company, the Shiraho Fishery Association, and E. Shimabukuro and M. Taira for logistics help and maintaining the instruments. Thanks are extended to Y. Tanaka, Y. Umezawa, A. Watanabe, A. Tanaka, Y. Tachibana, and M. Kohda for helping us during the field survey. A. Muramoto helped us to arrange the data. We are indebted to the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center of NASA Jet Production Laboratory for providing the TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data. Some current meters were provided by M. Yamamuro. This study was supported by the Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), the Japan Science and Technology Corporation. This is a contribution to the S-9 Project supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund, Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroya Yamano
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Hata
    • 2
  • Toshihiro Miyajima
    • 3
  • Ken Nozaki
    • 4
  • Ken Kato
    • 4
  • Akira Negishi
    • 4
  • Masayuki Tamura
    • 5
  • Hajime Kayanne
    • 6
  1. 1.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Hazama Technical Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoChibaJapan
  4. 4.Energy Electronics Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and TechnologyTsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Urban and Environment EngineeringKyoto UniversityNishikyo-kuJapan
  6. 6.Department of Earth & Planetary ScienceThe University of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan

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