Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation

B. E. Huntington, M. Karnauskas, Diego Lirman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability of reserves to replenish fish stocks is relatively well documented, but the evidence of their ability to induce positive effects on benthic communities remains inconclusive. Here, we test whether 10 years of reserve designation have translated into positive effects on coral communities in Glover's Reef, Belize. Surveys of 87 patch reefs inside and outside the reserve revealed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefitting coral cover, coral colony size, or abundance of juvenile corals. Furthermore, massive broadcasting coral species exhibited greater losses over time than their smaller-sized counterparts across all sites, suggesting that local management actions have not alleviated the regional trend of high mortality for these species. We detected no difference in herbivorous fish abundances or macroalgal cover between reserve and fished sites, providing a potential explanation for the lack of cascading positive effects on the coral community. We conclude that patterns of regional coral decline are evident at Glover's Reef, including a shift in dominance from broadcasting species to brooding species and declines in mean colony size. Our findings suggest that regional stressors are overwhelming local management efforts and that additional strategies are required to improve local coral condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1085
Number of pages9
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Fingerprint

marine park
corals
coral
reefs
reef
Belize
fish
benthos
mortality

Keywords

  • Coral recruitment
  • Herbivory
  • Marine protected area
  • Resilience
  • Trophic cascades

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation. / Huntington, B. E.; Karnauskas, M.; Lirman, Diego.

In: Coral Reefs, Vol. 30, No. 4, 01.12.2011, p. 1077-1085.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Huntington, B. E. ; Karnauskas, M. ; Lirman, Diego. / Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation. In: Coral Reefs. 2011 ; Vol. 30, No. 4. pp. 1077-1085.
@article{0997100705114255ae75961695f0a76b,
title = "Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation",
abstract = "The ability of reserves to replenish fish stocks is relatively well documented, but the evidence of their ability to induce positive effects on benthic communities remains inconclusive. Here, we test whether 10 years of reserve designation have translated into positive effects on coral communities in Glover's Reef, Belize. Surveys of 87 patch reefs inside and outside the reserve revealed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefitting coral cover, coral colony size, or abundance of juvenile corals. Furthermore, massive broadcasting coral species exhibited greater losses over time than their smaller-sized counterparts across all sites, suggesting that local management actions have not alleviated the regional trend of high mortality for these species. We detected no difference in herbivorous fish abundances or macroalgal cover between reserve and fished sites, providing a potential explanation for the lack of cascading positive effects on the coral community. We conclude that patterns of regional coral decline are evident at Glover's Reef, including a shift in dominance from broadcasting species to brooding species and declines in mean colony size. Our findings suggest that regional stressors are overwhelming local management efforts and that additional strategies are required to improve local coral condition.",
keywords = "Coral recruitment, Herbivory, Marine protected area, Resilience, Trophic cascades",
author = "Huntington, {B. E.} and M. Karnauskas and Diego Lirman",
year = "2011",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s00338-011-0809-4",
language = "English",
volume = "30",
pages = "1077--1085",
journal = "Coral Reefs",
issn = "0722-4028",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation

AU - Huntington, B. E.

AU - Karnauskas, M.

AU - Lirman, Diego

PY - 2011/12/1

Y1 - 2011/12/1

N2 - The ability of reserves to replenish fish stocks is relatively well documented, but the evidence of their ability to induce positive effects on benthic communities remains inconclusive. Here, we test whether 10 years of reserve designation have translated into positive effects on coral communities in Glover's Reef, Belize. Surveys of 87 patch reefs inside and outside the reserve revealed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefitting coral cover, coral colony size, or abundance of juvenile corals. Furthermore, massive broadcasting coral species exhibited greater losses over time than their smaller-sized counterparts across all sites, suggesting that local management actions have not alleviated the regional trend of high mortality for these species. We detected no difference in herbivorous fish abundances or macroalgal cover between reserve and fished sites, providing a potential explanation for the lack of cascading positive effects on the coral community. We conclude that patterns of regional coral decline are evident at Glover's Reef, including a shift in dominance from broadcasting species to brooding species and declines in mean colony size. Our findings suggest that regional stressors are overwhelming local management efforts and that additional strategies are required to improve local coral condition.

AB - The ability of reserves to replenish fish stocks is relatively well documented, but the evidence of their ability to induce positive effects on benthic communities remains inconclusive. Here, we test whether 10 years of reserve designation have translated into positive effects on coral communities in Glover's Reef, Belize. Surveys of 87 patch reefs inside and outside the reserve revealed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefitting coral cover, coral colony size, or abundance of juvenile corals. Furthermore, massive broadcasting coral species exhibited greater losses over time than their smaller-sized counterparts across all sites, suggesting that local management actions have not alleviated the regional trend of high mortality for these species. We detected no difference in herbivorous fish abundances or macroalgal cover between reserve and fished sites, providing a potential explanation for the lack of cascading positive effects on the coral community. We conclude that patterns of regional coral decline are evident at Glover's Reef, including a shift in dominance from broadcasting species to brooding species and declines in mean colony size. Our findings suggest that regional stressors are overwhelming local management efforts and that additional strategies are required to improve local coral condition.

KW - Coral recruitment

KW - Herbivory

KW - Marine protected area

KW - Resilience

KW - Trophic cascades

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=80255127567&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=80255127567&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00338-011-0809-4

DO - 10.1007/s00338-011-0809-4

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:80255127567

VL - 30

SP - 1077

EP - 1085

JO - Coral Reefs

JF - Coral Reefs

SN - 0722-4028

IS - 4

ER -