Smith et al. 2008

scientific article | Mar Pollut Bull | open access Open access small aa108fa7f478951c693af64a05bc4b46e6711dbb69a20809512a129d4d6b870f

Assessing coral reef health across onshore to offshore stress gradients in the US Virgin Islands

Smith TB, Nemeth RS, Blondeau J, Calnan JM, Kadison E, Herzlieb S

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Managing the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on coral reefs is highly dependant on effective strategies to assess degradation and recovery. We used five years of field data in the US Virgin Islands to investigate coral reef response to a potential gradient of stress. We found that the prevalence of old partial mortality, bleaching, and all forms of coral health impairment (a novel category) increased with nearshore anthropogenic processes, such as a five-fold higher rate of clay and silt sedimentation. Other patterns of coral health, such as recent partial mortality, other diseases, and benthic cover, did not respond to this potential gradient of stress or their response could not be resolved at the frequency or scale of monitoring. We suggest that persistent signs of disturbance are more useful to short-term, non-intensive (annual) coral reef assessments, but more intensive (semi-annual) assessments are necessary to resolve patterns of transient signs of coral health impairment.

10.1016   j.marpolbul.2008.08.015
Meta-data (pending validation)
Depth range
5- 42 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
0 x (total of 5655 words)

Ecology Management and Conservation Disturbances Long-term monitoring

Research focus
Overall benthic (groups) Scleractinia (Hard Corals)

US Virgin Islands

Research platforms
Diving (unspecified)
Author profiles
Jacqui Calnan ( 3 pubs)
Richard Nemeth ( 16 pubs)
Tyler Smith ( 20 pubs)