Post-Tsunami Recovery of Shallow Water Biota and Habitats on Thailand’s Andaman Coast
M. A. Kendall1,2, C. Aryuthaka1,3, J. Chimonides1,6, D. Daungnamon1,4, J. Hills1,7, C. Jittanoon1,3, P. Komwachirapitak1,4, V. Kongkaew1,4, A. Mittermeyr6,8, Y. Monthum1,3, S. Nimsantijaroen1,5, G. L. J. Paterson11,6, R. Foster-Smith1,7, J. Foster-Smith1,7, N. Thongsin1,3
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1Tsunami Impacts in Laem Son Project
2Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3DH, U.K.
3Department of Marine Science, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
4Ranong Coastal Resources Research Station, Suksumran, Ranong 85120, Thailand
5Snim Consultants, Ranong 85120, Thailand
6The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 4BD, U.K.
7Envision Mapping Ltd., 6 Stephenson House, Horsley, NE15 0NS, U.K.
8School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, SO14 3ZH,U.K.
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2009;18(1):69–75
There have been very few quantitative studies of the intertidal and shallow water biota of the Andaman Coast of Thailand and thus it was very difficult to provide precise estimates of the impact of the tsunami on coastal resources. Some quantitative data from Laem Son National Park existed, having been collected by the present authors, and these indicated that the most severe impacts were on the intertidal sand beach fauna, on rocky shore assemblages and on the seaward edge of mangrove forests. Inside the forests there was heavy deposition of coarse sediment on the forest floor and this led to changes in the species composition of the infauna. Most, but not all, sea grass beds escaped serious damage. By 2008 intertidal sediment assemblages contained a similar number of individuals to that recorded before the tsunami. Pre-tsunami data indicate that open coast, estuarine and seagrasses assemblages are naturally highly variable and thus were well adapted to recovering from the tsunami disturbance. Offshore sediments lack pre-tsunami information, but they too appear to be normal. Size frequency analysis of a population of the heart urchin Brissopsis luzonicus indicate that some individuals survived the tsunami but that there is heavy domination by the first post-tsunami cohort suggesting heavy colonization of disturbed seafloor. The trees in the seaward fringe of the most exposed mangrove forests still have to recover from tsunami damage, although the benthic fauna within the forest has returned.