Recent Declines in the Coral Fauna of the Spaanse Water, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
Abstract:Over the last three decades the coral populations of the Spaanse Water have declined precipitously. A comparison of survey data collected in 1961 and 1992, indicates that this has been accompanied by some significant shifts in community composition. Based on the 19 sites studied, major losses in relative abundance have taken place for Colpophyllia natans and Dichocoenia stokesii, whereas a major increase in relative abundance has taken place for Siderastrea siderea. Coral extension rates for S. siderea, the principal head coral of the bay, have been consistently low since the early 1980s. In addition, in comparison to a fringing reef reference population, remaining S. siderea coral heads within the Spaanse Water had highly elavated levels of partial mortality. These results are discussed in relation to various potential underlying causes among which the extensive development of the bay for residential purposes since the early 1980s.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1998-11-01
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