We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

Last week's tsunami in the Indian Ocean is likely to have caused long-term ecological damage to the coastlines it struck, say scientists.

The worst damage is expected to be found between 100 and 1,000 metres from the shore and species living on the shoreline would have been badly affected, they say.

Fragile coral reefs are likely to have suffered significant damage and could take years to recover as they only grow about half a centimetre a year. Diving resorts in the Maldives renowned for their rich marine life were destroyed completely.

Mangrove forests — which fringe the coasts of tropical and subtropical countries — are also likely to have been affected. Although these forests can help mitigate the effect of tsunamis (see Mangrove forests 'can reduce impact of tsunamis') by absorbing some of their energy, they are likely to have suffered considerable disturbance. This would have affected species of fish that live and breed among mangroves roots.

Larger marine species such as whales and dolphins are unlikely to have been badly affected by the tsunami, as they will have headed towards deeper water where the tsunami measured only about 18 centimetres in height.

Link to full PlanetArk news story