Coral reef fish and benthic community structure of Bonaire and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Sandin, Stuart A., Sampayo, Eugenia M. and Vermeij, Mark J. A. (2008) Coral reef fish and benthic community structure of Bonaire and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Caribbean Journal of Science, 44 2: 137-144.

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Author Sandin, Stuart A.
Sampayo, Eugenia M.
Vermeij, Mark J. A.
Title Coral reef fish and benthic community structure of Bonaire and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
Journal name Caribbean Journal of Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0008-6452
Publication date 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 44
Issue 2
Start page 137
End page 144
Total pages 8
Place of publication Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Publisher Universidad de Puerto Rico a Mayaguez
Language eng
Abstract Coral reefs throughout the Caribbean have suffered the effects of human activities, including overfishing, nutrient pollution, and global climate change. Yet despite systematic deterioration of reef health, there still exists appreciable variability of reef conditions across Caribbean sites. The mid-depth (20 m) fringing reefs of Bonaire and Curaçao, in the leeward Netherlands Antilles, remain healthier than reefs on many other Caribbean islands, supporting relatively high fish biomass and high coral cover. Approximately one half of the fish biomass is composed of planktivorous species, with the balance comprised of herbivorous and carnivorous species. Only a small fraction (<7%) of the fish biomass is composed of apex predators, predominantly due to the essential absence of sharks from these reefs. Coral cover across these islands averages 26.6%, with fleshy macroalgae and turf algae covering most of the remaining benthos. Coral cover was not correlated with the biomass of any fish groups, failing to provide a clear link between fish activities (e.g., herbivory) and the health and persistence of corals. However, there was a strong, positive correlation between macroalgal cover and herbivorous fish biomass. This result is in contrast to previously published reports and may identify a disparity between correlational studies conducted within islands (or nearby islands) versus studies comparing results from across islands. These data provide insights into the structure of reef communities in the southern Caribbean Sea.
Keyword Reef fish
Algae
Coral
Trophic structure
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Marine Studies Publications
 
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 09:38:40 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Centre for Marine Studies