Status of Coral Reef Ecosystem and Indication of Coral Bleaching Event in Morotai Island Waters, North Moluccas
The coral reef ecosystem is one of the most diverse ecosystem in the biosphere. Coral reefs also represented one of the threatened marine systems. Severity and frequency of coral bleaching events increased in recent years affecting the recovery and resilience of the corals. This study outlines evidence from the Morotai island water in support of recent hypotheses on coral bleaching and reef vulnerability to thermal stress. Data obtained based on a survey conducted by Shark Diving Indonesia at five locations: Blacktip point, Eagleray point, Aru point, Lighthouse Point and Daloha Point. One of the method that utilised in this research is quick survey using a method proposed by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF). Line intercept transect (LIT) is applied to examine and record the coral conditions at the depth of 5-10 m in each survey location. Result showed early symptoms of coral bleaching (less than 25^) in Morotai’s coral reef ecosystem. Hard corals such as Acropora sp. tabulate, branching and digitate were found sensitive and bleached. Whereas massive corals such as Porites sp. exhibited light symptoms of bleaching. Soft coral were found unresponsive to bleaching and remained healthy.