TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (1): 72-79.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002806

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A Review on the Research of Coral Reefs in the Weizhou Island, Beibu Gulf

WANG Wenhuan1,YU Kefu1ab,2,WANG Yinghui1a,b   

  1. (1.a.Coral Reef Research Center of China;b.School of Marine Sciences;c.Forestry College,Guangxi University,Nanning 530004,China; 2.South China Sea Institute of Oceanology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Guangzhou 510301,China)
  • Online:2016-01-05 Published:2016-01-05

Abstract:

The coral reefs in the Weizhou Island (WZR) are located at the northern margin of the tropical zone, and have been developing on the volcanic rocks for at least 7000 years. This paper reviewed the related studies on the coral reefs and summarized the characteristics of WZR as follows: 1) The living coral covers of WZR have substantially declined over the past two decades. For example, the coral cover reduced by 51.6% in the north (2009–2010), by 42.42% in the southeast (1991–2010), and by 71.55% in the southwest (1991–2010); 2) the relatively high-latitude Weizhou Island is an ideal site for testing the refuge hypothesis that, under the background of global warming, corals are migrating from low-latitude areas to high-latitude areas; 3) as the basement rocks of WZR are volcanic rocks, this is an excellent case for testing Darwin’s atoll origin hypothesis; 4) the Weizhou Island is experiencing heavy anthropogenic activities, thus it is a natural laboratory to study the interactions between human and coral reefs and how this relatively high-latitude coral reef responds to the global warming, extreme climatic events and anthropogenic stresses. Therefore, as an important resource, the WZR are not only of vital ecological and environmental significance as other coral reefs, but also of unique scientific value and deserve close attention for effective protection.

Key words: the Weizhou Island, coral reefs, research history, ecological status, relatively high-latitude