Coral Ba/Ca records of sediment input to the fringing reef of the southshore of Moloka'i, Hawai'i over the last several decades

Nancy G. Prouty*, Michael E. Field, Jonathan D. Stock, Stacy D. Jupiter, Malcolm McCulloch

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The fringing reef of southern Moloka'i is perceived to be in decline because of land-based pollution. In the absence of historical records of sediment pollution, ratios of coral Ba/Ca were used to test the hypothesis that sedimentation has increased over time. Baseline Ba/Ca ratios co-vary with the abundance of red, terrigenous sediment visible in recent imagery. The highest values at One Ali'i are near one of the muddiest parts of the reef. This co-varies with the lowest growth rate of all the sites, perhaps because the upstream Kawela watershed was historically leveed all the way to the nearshore, providing a fast-path for sediment delivery. Sites adjacent to small, steep watersheds have ∼decadal periodicities whereas sites adjacent to mangrove forests have shorter-period fluctuations that correspond to the periodicity of sediment transport in the nearshore, rather than the watershed. All four sites show a statistically significant upward trend in Ba/Ca.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1822-1835
    Number of pages14
    JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
    Volume60
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

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