The Impact of Scuba Diving on Marine Biodiversity Essay

The Impact of Scuba Diving on Marine Biodiversity Essay

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The impact of scuba diving on marine biodiversity especially the coral communities at the Two mile reef by Sodwana bay
Coral reefs are celebrated for their beauty, diversity, the enormous assemblage of life that they sustain and for providing of several vital services to society such as coastal defense, fisheries, ecotourism as well as products for construction and medicinal mixtures (Barker and Roberts, 2004). Regardless of their apparent value, universally the world over coral reefs are in decline due to a varied assortment of anthropogenic stresses such as scuba diving which will be the emphasis in this study (Barker and Roberts, 2004). The positive aspect of diving tourism is the economic gain from user fees which help recompense towards reef management, however it comes with greater repercussions for the coral reefs (Barker and Roberts, 2004).It is clear that coral reefs are a valuable but vulnerable assets to the scuba diving tourism industry, but that with the growth of reef tourism, damage from reef users must be addressed (Barker and Roberts, 2004).
Corals are generally located in the north-east of Southern Africa specifically at the World Heritage site, IsiMangaliso Wetland Park, they are essentially fringe coral communities, but these reefs are abundant in biodiversity (Muthiga et al., 2008).Boasting 90 species of hard coral with soft coral equaling 40 species and no less than 30 species each of ascidians (sea squirts) and sponges, these reef communities comprise of a combination of tropical and temperate Indo-Pacific fauna together with a plentiful display of endemic invertebrate and fish species (Muthiga et al., 2008) .True coral reefs are not created in these coral communities but they grow as a covering on sandston...


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...990; Davis et al., 1995). The topography and depth of the reef determine the dive profile at a site and may variously reduce or enhance the vulnerability of benthic organisms to damage, depending upon the skill of the diver (Hawkins and Roberts, 1992). On reefs with steep slopes, for example, benthic organisms will be less vulnerable to damage by divers who are able to control their buoyancy and remain away from the wall, but will be more vulnerable to divers who are less skilled and find it necessary to hold onto benthic organisms for added stability, particularly in strong currents (Rouphael and Inglis, 1997).
Based on the literature reviewed the hypothesis taken for this study states that scuba diving negatively impacts coral reefs, the more prone the reef is to scuba diving the greater loss of marine organisms on the reef specifically for the coral communities.

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