Home Institution

University of Denver

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


The world’s oceans are becoming increasing acidic due to global climate change, posing a threat to marine ecosystems, including coral carbonate systems. Environmental threats are exacerbated by human development stressors as well: growing populations, dependency on marine resources, and unsustainable practices invaluable marine ecosystems at risk. Tanzania’s coral reef system extends for 3580 km2 (Muhando et al. 2008) near the Tanga region, serving over half a million people who are highly dependent on fishing and other marine resources as their livelihoods (Samoilys et. al. 2008). With Tanzania’s population rapidly growing, the unsustainable pressure on coral reefs for sustenance and livelihood will only get worse. East African reefs have shown good recovery since the 1998 bleaching event, but progress is slowing due to destructive fishing practices (Muthiga et al.2008). This study compares coral and fish health between two reefs along Tanzania’s coast, Ushongo Village Reef (UVR) and Fungu Zinga Reef (FZR). It was hypothesized that FZR would be healthier than UVR due to its natural protection with distance from human populations and the presence of a sand bar. There is a trend in past studies of improving reef health and increased understanding of conservation among fishermen (Henderson et al. 2014; Azoff and Mecham et al. 2014: Houlihan et al. 2010). UVR and FZR were found to have statistically significant differences between fish abundance, number of species, number of coral genera and percentage of live coral coverage (p = 0.0227, 0.000024, 0.0374; 0.0432). FZR was found to be the healthier reef, while both reefs are improving in overall health.


African Studies | Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biodiversity | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Studies | Marine Biology | Oceanography | Sustainability | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


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