Schaerer, M., Nemeth, M., Valdivia, A., Miller, M., Williams, D., Diez, C.
Elkhorn coral distribution and condition throughout the Puerto Rican Archipelago
Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 7-11 July 2008
We estimated 673 km super(2) of potential habitat for Acropora palmata in Puerto Rico using GIS and measured the distribution, abundance and condition with a random sampling approach at six sites (3 east and 3 west coast MPAs). Average density ranged from 0.2 to 9.8 colonies/100m super(2) and was highest on west coast sites (Rincon and Cabo Rojo) and these sites showed lower predatory snail (Coralliophila abbreviata) prevalence and density. Overall, the prevalence of white band disease was low (2.4% of colonies) yet variable and recent mortality due to diseases was highest in Culebra. Mortality caused by boring sponges (Cliona tenuis) was only observed at west coast sites. Nine plots were established in 2007 for long-term monitoring of demographic variables using individually tagged colonies. The results indicate that spatial variability must be considered when assessing trends at the regional level in order to clearly understand population status and responses to management actions.
FY2009 CRCP Project ID 10306; Project Title: Assessment of ESA Threatened Corals - Supplemental, Principal Investigator: Margaret Miller