[Coral-List] Notes from the GCFI conference: The Status of Eastern Caribbean Coral Reefs: insights from the "Antillean Odyssey" by Dr. Bob Steneck

Georgina Bustamante gbustamante09 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 7 13:16:16 EST 2014



From: Georgina Bustamante [mailto:gbustamante09 at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, November 7, 2014 11:36 AM
To: CaMPAM Forum
Subject: Notes from the GCFI conference: The Status of Eastern Caribbean
Coral Reefs: insights from the "Antillean Odyssey" by Dr. Bob Steneck


Dr. Robert S. Steneck,  a world-wide renown coral reef scientist from the
University of Maine (US) gave two inspiring and data-rich presentations on
the results of his recent coral reef survey across the Eastern Caribbean
onboard his sailing boat Alaria. His presentation benefitted from his long
history of searching coral reefs
<http://www.umaine.edu/marine/people/profile/robert_steneck>  in the


Hereafter a summary of his talk, which emphasizes the benefits of the
no-take MPAs  (also called marine reserves or replenishment zones) to
improve the health of coral reef biological communities. 


“Evidence is growing that seaweed (macroalgae) is harmful to reef corals.
Macroalgae poison corals, reduce reproductive output, causes coral larvae
not to settle and can prevent the recruitment of baby corals.  Herbivores,
especially deep-grazing large parrotfish and Diadema sea urchins can reduce
algal abundance and increase coral recruitment.  I studied the coral reefs
of the eastern Caribbean (Anguilla through the Grenadines) and St. Croix in
the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Our team traversed over 1,500 km stopping to study
55 reef sites conducting over 4 km of coral and algal transects and nearly
20 km of fish transects.  The no-take reserve MPAs with good compliance (St.
Maarten, St. Lucia, Tobago Cays and St. Croix’s Buck Island) were compared
with adjacent fished sites.  Overall fish biomasses in general, and
herbivorous fish in particular, were twice as abundant in the no take
reserves compared to adjacent fished reefs.  Coincident with that were a
significant decline in macroalgae and an increase in adult and juvenile
coral abundance.  All data point to the idea that herbivory is the primary
driver of seaweed abundance.  Therefore, management should set goals to
increase herbivory to the point that algal abundance declines to healthy



Georgina Bustamante, Ph.D.

Caribbean  Marine Protected Area Management (CaMPAM) Network and Forum
The UNEP-CEP capacity building program for MPA managers and stakeholders

GCFI Board of Directors ( <http://www.gcfi.org> www.gcfi.org)

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email: gbustamante09 at gmail.com

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