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Title: Distribution and abundance of sea urchins in Singapore reefs and their potential ecological impacts on macroalgae and coral communities
Authors: Goh, Beverly
Lim, Dawn Y. F.
Keywords: Sea urchin
Diadema setosum
Singapore coral reefs
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Goh, B. P. L., & Lim, D. Y. F. (2015). Distribution and abundance of sea urchins in Singapore reefs and their potential ecological impacts on macroalgae and coral communities. Ocean Science Journal, 50(2), 211-219.
Abstract: The sea urchin Diadema setosum is often encountered in the coral reefs in the Southern Islands of Singapore. While sea urchins have been known to play a role in regulating algal communities and influencing coral recruitment in other parts of the world, their role in Singapore reefs has not been determined. This study was conducted to determine the distribution and abundance of sea urchins in Singapore reefs, to examine algal cover, algal biomass, algal species and live coral cover, and to determine any interactions between urchin density and algal communities that may impact coral cover. Several reefs in Singapore were surveyed using belt transects measuring 20m by 2m, laid down on the reef crest. Abundance of urchins, algal species, biomass, and live coral cover were determined by the use of quadrats within each belt transect. This study revealed an increasing abundance of the sea urchin Diadema setosum in reefs progressing southwards away from mainland Singapore with low density of urchins occurring in Sisters’ Island, St John’s Island, Pulau Tekukor, and Kusu Island, and the highest density observed at Raffles Lighthouse. A significant negative linear relationship between algal cover and live coral cover (P < 0.05) was established. The results of this study indicate that sea urchins may not be an important component of the herbivore guild in Singapore.
Description: This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Ocean Science Journal. The published version is available online at
ISSN: 1738-5261 (print)
2005-7172 (online)
Other Identifiers: 10.1007/s12601-015-0027-z
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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