Anatomy of a dying coral reef: Punta Islotes Reef, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

I. G. Macintyre, J. Cortes, P. W. Glynn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


A well-developed fringing coral reef in Golfo Dulce, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is being smothered with fine sediment and has a present-day live coral cover of less than 2%. This reef, off Punta Islotes, has a surface area of about 12 ha, and can be divided into four distinct zones: back-reef sediments, reef-flat branching corals, fore-reef slope massive corals; and fore-reef slope talus. Data from rock and sediment cores collected along four short transects across the outer edge of this reef reveal that it was once a flourishing reef that was established 5500 yr BP on a basalt terrace and is up to 9m thick. This reef, well isolated from the open-ocean temperature fluctuations that restrict most reef growth in the eastern Pacific, was exposed to hevay sedimentation in the past. It recovered, however, about 2500 yr BP to have a period of vigorous reef growth before succumbing, within the last 500 yrs, to freshwater and sedimentation stress following a change in local river outflow patterns. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the colloquium on global aspects of coral reefs, Miami, 1993
EditorsR.N. Ginsburg, F.G.W. Smith
PublisherUniversity of Miami, RSMAS
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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