Condition assessment of coral reefs of two marine protected areas under different regimes of use in the north-western Caribbean
Periodo de realización: 2016/06/01 al 2016/01/01
Tipo: Artículo científico
Lugar(es) de estudio: Cancún, Q.R., México, Isla Mujeres, Q.R., México, Parque Nacional Peninsula de Gunanahacabibes, St.Bran's Burg, Cuba
Resumen: "Knowledge of the current condition of reef communities is essential for the implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs). In 2014, we assessed the conditions of reefs of two MPAs in the Caribbean: Guanahacabibes National Park (Guanahacabibes), Cuba and Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres - Punta Cancun - Punta Nizuc National Park (Cancun), Mexico. Within each of the two MPAs studied, we examined two reefs. We took data from fifteen 10-m long transect lines. Indicators included coral cover, diameter of coral colonies, old and recent coral mortalities and coral diseases. The abundance of coral recruits and the density of Diadema antillarum were assessed in 1 m2 quadrats. The cover of groups of macroalgae was obtained from 25 25 cm quadrats. Our data illuminated distinct stages in the loss of reef structure similar to what has been seen by other investigators, particularly the change in the dominance of coral species and the deterioration of the three-dimensional structure of reefs. The Cuevones site (in Cancun), which has been closed to tourism for fifteen years, remains dominated by corals, with a high coral cover (33.36%), but with a species dominance (principally Porites astreoides), different from the lead species observed in the Caribbean a few decades ago. The reefs of Guanahacabibes (Laberinto and Yemaya) subject to a low diving intensity appear to be at an earlier stage of changes than the Cancun reefs. The coral indicators remains similar to previous reports, so perhaps this can be slowed or reversed. Meanwhile, Manchones in Cancun showed the lowest coral cover (11.49%) and the lowest recruit density (0.6 recruits/m2), probably due to the joint action of the natural pressures and to the heavy influx of visitors these reefs receive."