Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The influence of the Indian Ocean tsunami on coral reefs of Western Thailand, Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Barbara Brown


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Coral reefs of the west coast of Thailand were minimally affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004. Results of rapid assessment surveys prior to the present study revealed that only 13% of 174 sites visited along the west coast of Thailand were severely damaged with 60% of sites showing little or no damage. These preliminary results were confirmed in the present study by an evaluation of 17 long-term monitoring sites where reef assessment had been regularly made over the last 15-25 years. Only four of these sites showed marked damage with reductions of coral cover in the order of 5-16%, though it was estimated that coral cover had been reduced by approximately 40% on the southwest tip of Pai Island in Krabi Province where longterm monitoring had not been carried out prior to the tsunami. At impacted sites, damage consisted of overturned massive corals, broken branching corals and smothering of corals by sediments and coral rubble with these effects being greatest in shallow waters. No clear patterns were observed in terms of coral diversity at damaged locations pre- and post- tsunami. Overall damage was extremely localized affecting only small sectors of reef which were exposed to the full force of the tsunami waves. It is estimated that damaged sites will recover naturally in a time span of 5-10 years provided there is no major setback such as bleaching-induced coral mortality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phongsuwan N, Brown BE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Atoll Research Bulletin

Year: 2007

Issue: 544

Pages: 79-91

Print publication date: 01/07/2007

ISSN (print): 0077-5630

ISSN (electronic): 1943-9660

Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press