Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New study of Glover's Reef challenges whether corals will benefit from Marine Reserves' protection

Date:
October 4, 2011
Source:
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Summary:
The ability of marine reserves to replenish fish stocks has been studied extensively, but evidence of their ability to benefit shallow-water communities to thrive remains a mystery. A team of scientists recently tested whether 10 years of reserve designation has translated into positive impacts on coral communities in Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, Belize. Results from their surveys of 87 patch reefs both inside and outside the marine reserve showed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefiting coral cover, colony size or the abundance of juvenile corals.

A new study conducted by Brittany Huntington, Mandy Karnauskas and UM Professor Diego Lirman appears in the journal Coral Reefs. Its authors tested whether 10 years of reserve designation has translated into positive impacts on coral communities in Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Belize. Results from their surveys showed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefiting coral cover, colony size or the abundance of juvenile corals.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brittany Huntington

The ability of marine reserves to replenish fish stocks has been studied extensively, but evidence of their ability to benefit shallow-water communities to thrive remains a mystery. A team of scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science recently tested whether 10 years of reserve designation has translated into positive impacts on coral communities in Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, Belize. Results from their surveys of 87 patch reefs both inside and outside the marine reserve showed no clear indication of reserve implementation benefiting coral cover, colony size or the abundance of juvenile corals.

Related Articles


The study, conducted by Brittany Huntington, Mandy Karnauskas and UM Professor Diego Lirman appears in the journal Coral Reefs.

"We had hoped to find evidence of reserve protection benefiting the coral community as well as the fish community at Glover's Atoll. Unfortunately, the coral communities on protected reefs were in no better condition than the fished reefs," says Huntington.

Rather, the scientists documented declines in the coral community both inside and outside of the marine reserve. These patterns of coral decline at Glover's Reef, including a shift in dominance from massive reef-building broadcasting species to smaller brooding species, and low numbers of juvenile corals were documented and seem reflective of regional patterns of coral decline in the Caribbean.

The scientists detected no difference in herbivorous fish abundances or the abundance of macroalgae dominating the reef between reserve and fished sites. This provides a potential explanation for the lack of cascading effects on the coral community.

"The macroalgae is faster growing than corals, dominating the available free space on the reef and impeding coral growth and survival," said Huntington. "Without greater numbers of herbivorous fishes in the reserve to consume the macroalgae that is dominating these reefs, corals have little chance at recovery."

The UM team also found that massive broadcasting coral species exhibited greater losses over time than their smaller-sized counterparts, suggesting that local management actions have not alleviated the trend of high mortality for these species.

"Glover's Marine Reserve provides a unique opportunity to learn more about how marine reserves impact coral and fish populations," says Karnauskas. "Reserves that are not designed and implemented specifically for the protection of the coral community may fail to provide benefits to these species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. E. Huntington, M. Karnauskas, D. Lirman. Corals fail to recover at a Caribbean marine reserve despite ten years of reserve designation. Coral Reefs, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-011-0809-4

Cite This Page:

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "New study of Glover's Reef challenges whether corals will benefit from Marine Reserves' protection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004113754.htm>.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. (2011, October 4). New study of Glover's Reef challenges whether corals will benefit from Marine Reserves' protection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004113754.htm
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "New study of Glover's Reef challenges whether corals will benefit from Marine Reserves' protection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004113754.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins