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Asian Journal of Biological Sciences
  Year: 2011 | Volume: 4 | Issue: 7 | Page No.: 520-531
 
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Rapid Assessment of a Coral Reef Community in a Marginal Habitat in the Southern Caribbean: A Simple Way to Know What’s out There

S. Belford and D. Phillip

Abstract:
Reef monitoring programs can utilize simple effective techniques to collect abundance and distribution data which can be used to monitor long-term effects of human-environment interactions on reef benthos. Line and point intercept and quadrate methods were used to collect data at 2 sites located on the northeastern coast of Trinidad, West Indies, in the southern Caribbean. The diversity and abundance of reef-building corals were assessed annually from 2006-2008 for three intertidal reef flat areas at Toco Bay. Horizontal zones were divided into upper, intermediate and lower intertidal from the shore and were assessed at Toco Bay. An additional fourth zone was surveyed at Salybia Bay. Annual live cnidarian abundance along four randomly selected transects at Toco Bay averaged 55.6% (2006-2008); Zoanthid sp. comprised 40% abundance and the hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis and the scleractinian corals, Siderastrea radians and Porites porites the remaining 13.3%. Live abundance at Salybia Bay was 9.4% and included only P. porites (4.4%) and Z. sociatus. Quadrate data collected at both sites showed cnidarian abundance at Toco Bay (n = 11) and Salybia Bay (n = 15) to be 47.9% (8.7% scleractinian and 39.2% zoanthids) and 10.3% (4.5% scleractinian and 5.8% zoanthids), respectively. Coral species diversity at Toco Bay (Simpson’s index, D = 0.68) was higher than at Salybia Bay throughout the inner reef flat. This study provides the first quantitative coral abundance and distribution data effectively using rapid reef-monitoring assessment methods for Trinidad and provided a quick and simple way to estimate coral and benthic coverage in both intertidal reef systems.
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How to cite this article:

S. Belford and D. Phillip, 2011. Rapid Assessment of a Coral Reef Community in a Marginal Habitat in the Southern Caribbean: A Simple Way to Know What’s out There. Asian Journal of Biological Sciences, 4: 520-531.

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ajbs.2011.520.531

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