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Natural Hazards

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 493–510 | Cite as

Impact of the 2004 Sumatran tsunami on the diversity of intertidal brachyuran assemblages of Maavah, Laamu Atoll, Maldives

  • A. A. J. Kumar
  • S. G. Wesley
Original Paper
  • 224 Downloads

Abstract

A 2-year spatio-temporal survey of intertidal brachyuran crabs involving five sites was conducted in the Maavah reef system, Laamu Atoll, Maldives, from April 2001 to March 2003. In December 2004, the sites were hit by the catastrophic Sumatran tsunami. An 8-month-long study was carried in the same five sites after the tsunami, and the data obtained were compared with the pre-impact baseline data. A sand dune formed at the north-eastern side of the island as a result of the tsunami was also included in the post-tsunami study (site 6). Nine brachyuran crab species not recorded during pre-tsunami sampling in the five study sites were collected after the event. Of these, six species were recorded in site 6 during January 2005, and they started to appear in the other sites in the following months. Nine species of crabs collected during the pre-tsunami periods from four sites were not represented in the post-tsunami collections. Abundance, evenness and diversity of the post-tsunami brachyuran communities of sites 1 and 2 exhibited downward trends, and the evenness and diversity of the post-tsunami communities of site 4 exhibited upward trends when compared with pre-tsunami patterns. Multivariate analyses revealed that the tsunami had changed the post-tsunami brachyuran communities of sites 1–4. However, tests revealed that in site 4, the pre-tsunami brachyuran assemblage 1 (2001–2002) differed from pre-tsunami assemblage 2 (2002–2003) and post-tsunami assemblages. The roles of tsunami-transported species and site-specific dominant species in contributing to faunal dissimilarities between the pre- and post-tsunami brachyuran assemblages were found to be patchy. Further studies would reveal whether the population of any newly added species increases or decreases in the long term.

Keywords

Brachyuran diversity Tsunami Evenness Maavah Laamu Atoll Maldives 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dr. P. K. L. Ng, National University of Singapore, Singapore, for reviewing the second and final drafts of this paper and Dr. P. J. Hogarth, York University, England, for reviewing the first draft of this paper. Thanks are due to Dr. M. S. Adam, Executive Director, Marine Research Centre, Maldives, for his valuable assistances in several ways. We acknowledge Mr. Jeben Benjamin, Department of Zoology, Scott Christian College, Nagercoil, India, for correcting the language of the manuscript. We also thank Dr. S. Satheesh, Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Rajakamangalam, Tamil Nadu, India, for his guidance in certain statistical analyses. Several islanders of Maavah assisted us during field works, and their names are too numerous to be enlisted.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyScott Christian CollegeNagercoilIndia

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