[Coral-List] Keystone coral species in the Panama region

John McManus jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
Tue Sep 9 22:00:22 EDT 2014

Regarding corals more specifically:

That one is difficult. Branching corals provide the most refuge volume for
fish. Massive corals, and elkhorn in some cases, have often done the most
for Caribbean reef structure. Fast growing corals may produce the most
calcium carbonate for general reef building, but slow growing corals may
resist storm action and some other disturbances better. I think that the
concept of keystone species is impractical for corals. It may be better to
watch for amounts of change in overall coral assemblages using a distance
metric (city-block metric, percent similarity, etc.). Using these
differences over time with Multidimensional Scaling will show strong phase
shifts as distinct groupings of the same sites at different times.   


-----Original Message-----
From: John McManus [mailto:jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu] 
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 8:54 PM
To: 'Connie Rowe'; 'coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov'
Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Keystone coral species in the Panama region

The study of a food web roughly covering the shelves of Puerto Rico and
adjacent areas by Bascompte et al. 2005 indicated that declines in several
species of sharks at the predator end, and herbivores such as parrotfish at
the prey end, would likely have the most substantial impacts on the

The role of the sharks was further confirmed by an analysis of the same food
web (from one of the earliest Ecopath analyses) by Rezende et al. from the
standpoint of compartmentalization. The role of parrotfish was confirmed in
the new study led by Jeremy Jackson.   

The above food web analyses go beyond the older, mostly guesstimated,
declarations of 'keystone predators'. However, the idea of a group that
would strongly impact the ecosystem when reduced seems to fit that concept.

Bascompte, J, CJ Melia, and E Sala. 2005. Interaction strength combinations
and the overfishing of a marine food web. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Science 102(15): 5443–5447.

Rezende, EL, EM Albert, MA Fortuna, and J Bascompte. 2009. Compartments in a
marine food web associated with phylogeny, body mass, and habitat structure.
Ecology Letters 12: 779–788.

Jackson et al 2014 Status and trends if Caribbean coral reefs. Global Coral
Reef Monitoring Network c/o International Union for the Conservation of
Nature Global Marine and Polar Program
1630 Connecticut Avenue N. W.
Washington, D. C.



John W. McManus, PhD
Director, National Center for Coral Reef Research (NCORE) Professor, Marine
Biology and Ecology Coral Reef Ecology and Management Lab (CREM Lab)
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) University of
Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, 33149
jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu      http://ncore.rsmas.miami.edu/

"If you lose a diamond ring in the bedroom, don't look for it in the living
room just because the light there is better".

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Connie Rowe
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 7:02 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Keystone coral species in the Panama region

Hey listers,

Is anyone able to point me in the direction of keystone coral and
invertebrate species within the Panama and or Caribbean region please? I
can't seem to find anything in the literature. Also, if anyone knows of any
resources in regards to reef composition within the Panama region, in
particular the Bocas del Drago region within recent history? I'm looking to
do a phase shift analysis of the area and any information would be greatly

Thank you,
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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