New Report Shows Trends from Biological Monitoring in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program released a new report on biological monitoring data, including benthic and fish data, from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The report summarizes the status of coral reef biological data in the region from the most recent data collection in 2019, and is also the first Atlantic biological report to show trends from sampling every two years since 2013. Highlights of the report include:
overall decline in coral cover,
varying macroalgae cover,
bleaching during the 2019 survey season,
varying coral disease not limited to stony coral tissue loss disease,
a wide breadth of reef fish data that can be used to reliably monitor 35-40 fish species,
redband and stoplight parrotfish were the most commonly observed parrotfish species,
bicolor damselfish and bluehead wrasse dominated the reefs,
fish density differed inside and outside of national parks in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and
fish sizes were collected for recreationally and commercially important or targeted species.
Data in the report can be used to inform coral and fish population management strategies, document endangered species and coral disease, and assist with local monitoring efforts.
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
coral reef conservation program
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.
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