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TP12A Assessment in Tropical Ecosystems
() The application of ecotoxicology to the protection of tropical aquatic ecosystems.
Golbuu, Y1, Victor, S1, 1 Palau International Coral Reef Center, Koror, Palau
ABSTRACT- The coral reefs and related coastal ecosystems of Palau and the rest of Micronesia are truly the life-blood of the islands, through their cultural and economic values and the ecological services they provide. The mangrove-fringed estuaries serve as nurseries for fishery resources and as a buffer between the land and sea by filtering runoff and sediment from land based sources, and protecting shorelines from coastal erosion from storm-generated waves. Recent changes in patterns of anthropogenic environmental stresses have had a measurable impact on tropical coastal marine ecosystems. Alterations in land use as well as the importation of a variety of agrochemicals, petroleum products, anti-fouling paints and other potential pollutants have resulted in the loss of coastal resources. There has been an associated impact on those communities dependent on coastal resources for food, cultural activities and developing ecotourism industries. Studies performed in two watersheds on Palau have documented the effects of runoff and sedimentation as sources for the decline of coastal water and substratum quality. Specific chemicals have been found to inhibit reproduction and recruitment of corals and there is little doubt that other groups of organisms are also affected by the presence of xenobiotics in watershed discharges. The challenge for island-based researchers (and the broader research community world-wide) has been not only to collect critically-needed data, but to be able to provide this information in suitable forms and formats to the community of stakeholders, resource managers, policy makers and business interests. Recent efforts in Palau are a model of how pollution data can be translated into policy through developing partnerships. The future of the tropical islands is very much dependent on the implementation of recommendations that arise from the ecotoxicology data.
Key words: estuaries, coral reefs, watersheds, pollution
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