Free Content Reefs of the Northeastern Caribbean I. Scleractinian Populations

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Scleractinian species composition and abundance were determined on 12 shallow reefs (<6 m deep), located on a total of 8 different islands within the Virgin Islands and as far south as Saba, Netherlands Antilles. The size of scleractinian colonies was measured on five reefs. Twenty one species were found, and there were no major variations in coral diversity or evenness throughout the region. The diversity at Saba was among the highest previously recorded in the Caribbean and may represent an “edge effect” as a result of its proximity to deep water. Colony sizes were significantly different between sites although variations were not consistent between sites. The most common corals throughout the region were Agaricia agaricites, Montastrea annularis, Porites astreoides, P. porites and Acropora cervicornis. On an average reef in the northeastern Caribbean these represent 25%, 17%, 16%, 15% and 7% of the coral colonies and have mean diameters of 4.0 cm, 24.0 cm, 6.0 cm, 5.3 cm and 12.4 cm respectively.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1990

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