Benthic algae communities of coral reefs in the Sanya Bay (Hainan Island, China) in sites heavily polluted with nutrients and their changes after the pollution source elimination
It was previously found that extremely high concentrations of nutrients in seawater in the polluted area of a fish farm on the Luhuitou Peninsula (the Sanya Bay) cause a significant reduction in species diversity and abundance of low-productive annual and perennial red and brown algae, as well as an increase in number and biomass of highly productive green algae. In 2017–2019, for the first time, we studied changes in the number and structure of benthic algal communities over a range of tidal zones in the Sanya Bay after the pollution source elimination – the fish farm liquidation. It was shown that a decrease in the concentration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) (from ≈ 20 to 2.5 μM) and orthophosphates (from 5.0 to 0.2 μM) in seawater significantly altered diversity, species composition, and structure of benthic algal communities. One and half years after the pollution source elimination, the main indicators of the flora became, on average, close to those of the moderately polluted areas of the Sanya Bay.
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