African coral reefs
African coral reefs are coral reefs mainly found along the south and east coasts of Africa. The east coast corals extend from the Red Sea to Madagascar in the south, and are an important resource for the fishersmen of Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.
As with coral reefs elsewhere, African coral reefs are more biologically diverse than the surrounding ocean, and support species such as the mantis shrimp, potato grouper, humphead wrasse and maxima clam, as well as many seaweeds and corals.
On the east coast, temperatures average about 26°C over the year. The average rainfall is highest between January to April, at about 30 cm, being at its lowest during August to November, at about 10 cm.
There are multiple threats to the reefs, such a tourist diving and damaging the corals, or taking samples. Then there are industrial run-offs and pollutants, untreated sewage and the increasing sediment flows in rivers that threaten all of the coastal ecosystems. The reef is also threatened by climate change. Due to global warming, the sea surface temperature increases and in 1997/98 a particularly severe 'El Nino' killed 90 percent of corals on the reef. The CORDIO (COral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean) NGO have set up an East African task force to monitor the reef's management.
- Van Dyke, F; Conservation biology: foundations, concepts, applications, Springer 2008, p 354
- Wilkinson, C; Status of coral reefs around the world, 2002, Australian Institute of Marine Science 2002, p 11
'The Encyclopedia of Wildlife, Weldon Owen'