Long-term monitoring programs are valuable to describe the natural dynamic of coral reef ecosystems in space and time. The Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity program (CARICOMP) represents the largest and longest cooperative effort to monitor synoptically coral reefs in the Wider Caribbean. Here we present a summary of trajectories of 42 reef sites spread out across the region from 1992 to 2007. The analysis also includes few countries where the program is still active. Results indicate that in 1993, mean coral cover in the region was 21 ± 6 % (CI 95%). Only 11 sites (26%) had mean live coral cover above the regional average and remained in this way for the study period. In addition, ten sites (24%) were within the confidence interval of average live coral cover and kept this condition until 2007. More than 50% of the sites lost between 2 to 30% of their live coral cover from 1992 to 2007, with the largest coral mortality recorded at Morrocoy National Park (Venezuela) and Pinnacle reef (Cayman Islands). We found a weak but significant negative correlation (r = -0.49, r2 = 0.19, p< 0.05) between the mean live coral cover and mean macroalgae cover at all sites between 1993 and 2007. These results further indicate that lost of coral cover was not always followed by an increase of macroalgae. Overall, our results support that coral cover in the monitored Caribbean reefs had been declining over the past decades; however, degree of community structure change varied strongly across the 42 reef sites and relatively few showed a clear algal phase shift.


Croquer, A., Simón Bolívar, Venezuela, acroquer@usb.ve

Cortés, J., Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica, jorge.cortes@ucr.ac.cr

Weil, E., University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, reefpal@gmail.com

Jordán-Dhalgren, E., Universidad Nacional Auntónoma de México, Mexico, jordan@cmarl.unam.mx

Ogden, J. C., University of South Florida, USA, jogden@marine.usf.edu

Montilla, L. M., Simón Bolívar, Venezuela, luismmontila@usb.ve


Oral presentation

Session #:65
Date: 06/23/2016
Time: 13:45
Location: 305 A/B

Presentation is given by student: No