The South China Sea is poorly understood in terms of its marine biota, ecology and the human impacts upon it. What is known is most often contained in reports and workshop and conference documents that are not available to the wider scientific community. The South China Sea has an area of some 3.3 million km2 and depths range from the shallowest coastal fringe to 5377 m in the Manila Trench. It is also studded with numerous islets, atolls and reefs many of which are just awash at low tide. It is largely confined within the Tropic of Cancer and, therefore, experiences a monsoonal climate being influenced by the Southwest Monsoon in summer and the Northeast Monsoon in winter. The South China Sea is a marginal sea and, therefore, largely surrounded by land. Countries that have a major influence on and claims to the sea include China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, although Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan have some too. The coastal fringes of the South China Sea are home to about 270 million people that have had some of the fastest developing and most vibrant economies on the globe. Consequently, anthropogenic impacts, such as over-exploitation of resources and pollution, are anticipated to be huge although, in reality, relatively little is known about them. The Indo-West Pacific biogeographic province, at the centre of which the South China Sea lies, is probably the world's most diverse shallow-water marine area. Of the three major nearshore habitat types, i.e., coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses, 45 mangrove species out of a global of 51, most of the currently recognised 70 coral genera and 20 of 50 known seagrass species have been recorded from the South China Sea. The island groups of the South China Sea are all disputed and sovereignty is claimed over them by a number of countries. Conflicts have in recent decades arisen over them because of perceived national rights. It is perhaps because of this that so little research has been undertaken on the South China Sea. What data are available, however, and if Hong Kong is used , as it is herein, as an indicator of what the perturbations of other regional cities upon the South China Sea are like, then it is impacted grossly and an ecological disaster has probably already, but unknowingly, happened.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||South China Sea|
|Series title||Marine Pollution Bulletin|
|Contributing office(s)||St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||South China Sea|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|