Meltvedt A.,University of Hawaii at Manoa |
Meltvedt A.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire |
Jadot C.,Research Station Bonaire
Marine Technology Society Journal | Year: 2014
Coral reefs around the globe are subject to environmental and anthropogenicstressors that are causing habitat degradation and a decline in reef resilience. Paststudies of Caribbean reefs document a decrease in coral cover with a simultaneousincrease in algal cover after significant stress, disturbance, or coral mortality. Thelong-term shift from coral-dominated reefs to algae-dominated reefs is known as acoral-algal phase shift. This study assessed the progression of a coral-algal phaseshift at a fringing reef around Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, by comparing currentcoral and algal benthic cover to historical data, from 1997 to 2008, at a site nearby.Research was conducted over a 5-w period fromSeptember to October 2012. Twenty10-m transects were filmed and analyzed through Coral Point Count with Excel extensionssoftware to determine percent live coral and algal cover.Mean coral cover atthe study site was 14.3%, and algal cover was 72.4%. In comparison to historicaldata, a significant increase in the algae-coral ratio indicated a progression of acoral-algal phase shift in Bonaire. This study contributes to the scientific knowledgeof coral-algal phase shifts in the Bonaire reef ecosystemand the broader scientific reefconservation. © 2014, Marine Technology Society Inc. All rights reserved.