Fish assemblages and benthic habitats of Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) and the surrounding seascape: A characterization of spatial and temporal patterns

Pittman, Simon J. and Hile, Sarah D. and Jeffrey, Chris F. G. and Caldow, Chris and Kendall, Matthew S. and Monaco, Mark E. and Hillis-Stan, Zandy (2008) Fish assemblages and benthic habitats of Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) and the surrounding seascape: A characterization of spatial and temporal patterns. Silver Spring, MD, NOAA/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, (NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS, 71)

[img]
Preview
PDF (The document's language is English .) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (8Mb) | Preview
Official URL: http://www.ccma.nos.noaa.gov/publications/fishasse...

Abstract

Since 1999, NOAA’s Biogeography Branch of the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA-BB) has been working with federal and territorial partners to characterize, monitor, and assess the status of the marine environment around northeastern St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. This effort is part of the broader NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s (CRCP) National Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Program (NCREMP). With support from CRCP’s NCREMP, CCMA conducts the “Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring project” (CREM) with goals to: (1) spatially characterize and monitor the distribution, abundance, and size of marine fauna associated with shallow water coral reef seascapes (mosaics of coral reefs, seagrasses, sand and mangroves); (2) relate this information to in situ fine-scale habitat data and the spatial distribution and diversity of habitat types using benthic habitat maps; (3) use this information to establish the knowledge base necessary for enacting management decisions in a spatial setting; (4) establish the efficacy of those management decisions; and (5) develop data collection and data management protocols. The monitoring effort in northeastern St. Croix was conducted through partnerships with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (VI-DPNR). The geographical focal point of the research is Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), a protected area originally established in 1961 and greatly expanded in 2001; however, the work also encompassed a large portion of the recently created St. Croix East End Marine Park (EEMP). Project funding is primarily provided by NOAA CRCP, CCMA and NPS. In recent decades, scientific and non-scientific observations have indicated that the structure and function of the coral reef ecosystem around northeastern St. Croix have been adversely impacted by a wide range of environmental stressors. The major stressors have included the mass Diadema die off in the early 1980s, a series of hurricanes beginning with Hurricane Hugo in 1989, overfishing, mass mortality of Acropora corals due to disease and several coral bleaching events, with the most severe mass bleaching episode in 2005. The area is also an important recreational resource supporting boating, snorkeling, diving and other water based activities. With so many potential threats to the marine ecosystem and a dramatic change in management strategy in 2003 when the park’s Interim Regulations (Presidential Proclamation No. 7392) established BIRNM as one of the first fully protected marine areas in NPS system, it became critical to identify existing marine fauna and their spatial distributions and temporal dynamics. This provides ecologically meaningful data to assess ecosystem condition, support decision making in spatial planning (including the evaluation of efficacy of current management strategies) and determine future information needs. The ultimate goal of the work is to better understand the coral reef ecosystems and to provide information toward protecting and enhancing coral reef ecosystems for the benefit of the system itself and to sustain the many goods and services that it offers society. This Technical Memorandum contains analysis of the first six years of fish survey data (2001-2006) and associated characterization of the benthos (1999-2006). The primary objectives were to quantify changes in fish species and assemblage diversity, abundance, biomass and size structure and to provide spatially explicit information on the distribution of key species or groups of species and to compare community structure inside (protected) versus outside (fished) areas of BIRNM. (PDF contains 100 pages).

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Fish assemblages and benthic habitats of Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) and the surrounding seascape: A characterization of spatial and temporal patterns
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Pittman, Simon J.Simon.Pittman@noaa.gov
Hile, Sarah D.Sarah.Hile@noaa.gov
Jeffrey, Chris F. G.Chris.Jeffrey@noaa.gov
Caldow, ChrisChris.Caldow@noaa.gov
Kendall, Matthew S.Matt.Kendall@noaa.gov
Monaco, Mark E.Mark.Monaco@noaa.gov
Hillis-Stan, Zandy
Series Name: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS
Number: 71
Date: 2008
Publisher: NOAA/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD
Issuing Agency: United States National Ocean Service
Additional Information: Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment
Subjects: Ecology
Management
Fisheries
Environment
Item ID: 2148
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2009 18:55
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2014 01:53
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/2148

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...