Effects of Hurricane Keith at a Patch Reef on Banco Chinchorro, Mexican Caribbean
Abstract:In order to assess the effects of Hurricane Keith at a patch reef on the reef lagoon of Banco Chinchorro we surveyed using 1-m2 permanent quadrats before and after the storm crossed the Mexican Caribbean. Thirteen scleractinian species were observed. Relative importance value of each scleractinian coral was estimated. Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites, Madracis decactis, Porites porites, and Favia fragum presented an importance value higher than 25%. Analyzing the size-frequency distribution, mode, and asymmetry of these species it seems that there is an active recruitment within coral populations. Also, the qualitative percent of the following substrata components was estimated: living coral tissue, recently dead coral tissue, old dead coral tissue, macroalgae, filamentous algae, and sand. There were no significant differences for all components before and after hurricane. There is evidence that the patch reef studied was affected by disturbances before Hurricane Keith. The percent cover of living coral tissue was significantly lower from percent cover of recently dead coral tissue, this result, together with the topographic complexity index obtained (C = 0.47), indicate low disturbance levels. Resuspended sediments rate was significantly higher during Hurricane Keith pass (127.9 mg cm−2 d−1) and temperature clearly decreased, but there were not apparently negative effects on the patch reef studied and the rest of the reef. The lack of evident hurricane effects can be explained in terms of the community structure of the patch reef studied.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2003
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