Nha Trang Bay (NTB) is located on the Central Vietnam coast, western South China Sea. Recent coastal development of Nha Trang City has raised public concern over an increasing level of pollution within the bay and degradation of nearby coral reefs. In this study, multiple proxies (e. g., trace metals, rare earth elements (REEs), and Y/Ho) recorded in a massive Porites lutea coral colony were used to reconstruct changes in seawater conditions in the NTB from 1995 to 2009. A 14-year record of REEs and other trace metals revealed that the concentrations of terrestrial trace metals have increased dramatically in response to an increase in coastal development projects such as road, port, and resort constructions, port and river dredging, and dumping activities since 2000. The effects of such developmental processes are also evident in changes in REE patterns and Y/Ho ratios through time, suggesting that both parameters are critical proxies for marine pollution. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.