Rapid Assessment of Coral Reefs along the Egyptian Red Sea Coast

Tarek Abdel-Aziz A. Mohammed
Coral assessment and distribution have been studied at some sites representing the Egyptian Red Sea coast from north Hurghada with 5km to Shalateen illustrating the most important factors that affect the coral distribution and abundance at the selected sites. The percentage cover of the coral reef community was estimated at each locality by using the standard method (the line intercept transect). During the present investigation, 68 coral species were recorded at seven coastal sites along the Egyptian Red Sea; forty-nine species of them were hard corals and the other 19 species were soft corals. North Hurghada site (NIOF) recorded the least cover of the living coral (66.23%) while Abu-Dabab area recorded the maximum coverage percent (91.50%). In spite of the fact that NIOF site recorded the least cover, it measured the maximum species diversity (3.54) and the maximum recorded number of species (48 species), Shalateen recorded the least diversity (1.97) and the least number of species (24 species). Pocillopora damicornis recorded the highest coverage percent of the hard corals (15.6%) at El Sharm El-Bahari, and Sarcophyton glaucum recorded the highest soft corals (10.18%) at North Qula'an. Some environmental, biological interaction and anthropogenic activities were the main controlling factors of coral distribution at the studied areas such as overfishing, tourism developments, as well as petroleum and phosphate production, Sedimentation processes, bottom topography and geomorphology.
Coral Assessment; Diversity; Community Distribution; Evenness Index; Red Sea; Egypt
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