Distribution of soft bottom macrobenthic communities in tropical marinas of Singapore

  • Chin Soon Lionel NgEmail author
  • Kok Ben Toh
  • Tai Chong Toh
  • Juat Ying Ng
  • Pei Rong Cheo
  • Karenne Tun
  • Loke Ming Chou


The establishment of marinas alters physico-chemical conditions and affects distribution of resident epibiotic and pelagic communities along coastal areas. However, information on the soft bottom macrobenthos within and around these boating facilities in the tropics is limited. Here, we investigated if macrobenthic communities differed among three representative tropical marinas, and whether the communities inhabiting the marinas differed from those outside the marinas. Ekman grab sampling of the soft bottom sediment at three Singapore marinas – Raffles Marina (RM), ONEo15 Marina (OMC), Marina at Keppel Bay (MKB) – yielded a total of 73 taxa from eight phyla. Accounting for temporal variations, taxonomic richness did not differ among marinas, while Shannon index (MKB > RM = OMC) and abundance (RM > OMC > MKB) did. Macrobenthic community composition differed among the marinas, with RM dominated by a high proportion of opportunistic species and OMC supporting species that were sensitive to pollution. The surveys also revealed that communities within and outside marinas differed. Unlike RM which is more enclosed, diversity was higher within MKB than outside it, likely because the latter marina had a layout that encouraged flushing which maintained good water quality. The study showed that while Singapore’s tropical marinas can support diverse groups of macrobenthic taxa, the presence of high proportions of opportunistic species suggested that pollution within the marinas was still significant. Macrofaunal diversity in tropical marinas, such as those in Singapore, may be promoted by designs that improve water exchange.


Coastal modification Urbanization Macroinvertebrates Ecological indices Sediment 



We are grateful to all members of the Reef Ecology Laboratory, NUS, and staff of Raffles Marina, ONEo15 Marina Club and Marina at Keppel Bay for their generous assistance over the course of this study. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This study was funded and supported by the National Parks Board and the Technical Committee for the Coastal and Marine Environment (TCCME) (grant number R-154-000-557-490).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tropical Marine Science InstituteNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.National Parks BoardSingaporeSingapore

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