Impact of urbanisation on coral reef ecosystems

Sponge survey at the Spermonde archipelago, SW Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Here we assess the historical impact of human settlement on coral reef environments adjacent to two major conurbations in southeast Asia, namely Jakarta and Makassar. This will be the first study to assess on a large spatial scale how the historical process of urbanisation has affected these environments in this marine biodiversity hotspot.

Prof. Dr. N.J. (Nicole) de Voogd

Senior researcher
Marine biodiversity
+31 (0)71 751 9615

Jakarta and Makassar
-6.0867249795029, 106.82388386248

With analysis of historical maps, aerial photography and satellite images, in combination with field data, we will provide a general framework for understanding and predicting the effects of human settlement on coral reef communities. 

A key aspect of the study will be the use of drilling to extract sediment cores that will enable us to study changes in coral composition over long time intervals. This will allow us to document temporal shifts in composition and with the use of historical maps and satellite images relate these shifts to changes in human settlement patterns. Disturbances play a key role in structuring coral assemblages, and are critical determinants of how these assemblages will respond to future pressures and a changing climate. This study will be the first large scale temporal and spatial assessment of megacity impacts on coral reef  environments in an important marine biodiversity hotspot.

The results of this study should prove important to conserving coral reef systems and help to reduce the impact of future urbanization. The study will include detailed spatial and temporal information, including GIS, of the historical and present day reef environment of the research areas and will provide valuable background information for coral reef restoration. This study will additionally be important to predict how future estimates of human population density and urbanisation will affect coral reef environments and to identify possible measures that may help to mitigate these effects.