Calcinus hermit crab abundance and Millepora coral size from Virgin Islands National Park in the Great Lameshure Bay, St. John, US Virgin Island from 2010-2011 (St. John LTREB project)

Website: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/523358
Version: 2014-08-14

Project
» LTREB Long-term coral reef community dynamics in St. John, USVI: 1987-2019 (St. John LTREB)
ContributorsAffiliationRole
Edmunds, Peter J.California State University Northridge (CSU-Northridge)Principal Investigator
Brown, Darren JCalifornia State University Northridge (CSU-Northridge)Student
Copley, NancyWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager


Dataset Description

The study was conducted in St. John within the Virgin Islands National Park (VINP). The majority of our analyses focused on the shallow fringing reefs of Great Lameshur Bay and was completed in 2010 and 2011. Surveys in July and August 2010 focused on the natural history of the association by evaluating Millepora spp. for colony size and population density of C. tibicen. Surveys were repeated between June 2011 and August 2011 and expanded to the north and east shores of St. John to test the generality of the observations initially made in 2010. In 2011, manipulative experiments were conducted to test the functional basis of the Millepora-Calcinus association and evaluate whether it could be described as a commensalism.

Related datasets:
crab displacement behavior
crab nocturnal surveys
crab predator avoidance

These data were published in Brown D, Edmunds PJ. (2013) The hermit crab Calcinus tibicen lives commensally on Millepora spp. in St. John, United States Virgin Islands.  Coral Reefs 32.1: 127-135.

Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)


Acquisition Description

Abundance of Calcinus tibicen on Millepora spp.: Surveys in 2010 were performed during the day at Tektite and Yawzi Point in Great Lameshur Bay. At each site, 25-m transects were placed parallel to the 2-6 m depth contour and Millepora spp. colonies within 1 m of either side of the transect were censused for size and abundance of C. tibicen. The benthos was also searched for C. tibicen to determine the extent to which they occurred on surfaces other than Millepora spp. Millepora spp. was scored for size and presence of C. tibicen. The sizes of C. tibicen were estimated indirectly through the sizes of the gastropod shells they occupy.

Nocturnal surveys: Surveys were completed at night in 2011 to test the possibility that C. tibicen leave Millepora spp. after dark. This portion of the study was motivated by the strong likelihood that C. tibicen is an omnivorous detritivore and, therefore, eventually would have to leave their Millepora spp. to forage. Presumably, this behavior might best be accomplished at night when they could escape visual fish predators.

Site fidelity: Hermit crabs were collected and grouped by the colony from which they were collected, and their Millepora spp. colonies marked so that tagged crabs could be returned to the same colony. Site fidelity was expressed as the percentage of tagged hermit crabs remaining on each colony over the census period. Results table.

Behavioral response: To evaluate the capacity for C. tibicen to find Millepora spp., two experiments were conducted. First, a displacement experiment was conducted in 2010 and 2011, in which C. tibicen were removed from Millepora spp. colonies during the day, placed on adjacent algal turf, and observed for 5 min to determine whether they returned to the same Millepora spp. Second, a laboratory experiment was conducted in 2011 in which C. tibicen were placed in a Y-maze and presented with a choice of Millepora spp. versus seawater.

Results of Y-Maze Choice:
Millepora: 29
Other:      14
Total:         4

Predator avoidance: To gain insight into the mechanistic basis of the Millepora- Calcinus association, a tethering experiment was conducted in which the losses of secured C. tibicen were determined on Millepora spp. versus sand/algal turf.


[ table of contents | back to top ]

Parameters

ParameterDescriptionUnits
yearyear of study YYYY
sitelocation of the Millepora colony unitless
latlatitude; north is positive decimal degrees
lonlongitude; east is positive decimal degrees
colonycolony id number: running count of colonies sampled unitless
area_colonythe planar area of the Millepora colony cm^2
count_crabthe number of crabs found on the Millepora colony individuals

[ table of contents | back to top ]

Deployments

Edmunds_VINP

Website
Platform
Virgin Islands National Park
Start Date
1987-01-01
End Date
2016-09-01
Description
Studies of corals and hermit crabs


[ table of contents | back to top ]

Project Information

LTREB Long-term coral reef community dynamics in St. John, USVI: 1987-2019 (St. John LTREB)


Coverage: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; California State University Northridge


Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) in US Virgin Islands:

From the NSF award abstract:
In an era of growing human pressures on natural resources, there is a critical need to understand how major ecosystems will respond, the extent to which resource management can lessen the implications of these responses, and the likely state of these ecosystems in the future. Time-series analyses of community structure provide a vital tool in meeting these needs and promise a profound understanding of community change. This study focuses on coral reef ecosystems; an existing time-series analysis of the coral community structure on the reefs of St. John, US Virgin Islands, will be expanded to 27 years of continuous data in annual increments. Expansion of the core time-series data will be used to address five questions: (1) To what extent is the ecology at a small spatial scale (1-2 km) representative of regional scale events (10's of km)? (2) What are the effects of declining coral cover in modifying the genetic population structure of the coral host and its algal symbionts? (3) What are the roles of pre- versus post-settlement events in determining the population dynamics of small corals? (4) What role do physical forcing agents (other than temperature) play in driving the population dynamics of juvenile corals? and (5) How are populations of other, non-coral invertebrates responding to decadal-scale declines in coral cover? Ecological methods identical to those used over the last two decades will be supplemented by molecular genetic tools to understand the extent to which declining coral cover is affecting the genetic diversity of the corals remaining. An information management program will be implemented to create broad access by the scientific community to the entire data set.

The importance of this study lies in the extreme longevity of the data describing coral reefs in a unique ecological context, and the immense potential that these data possess for understanding both the patterns of comprehensive community change (i.e., involving corals, other invertebrates, and genetic diversity), and the processes driving them. Importantly, as this project is closely integrated with resource management within the VI National Park, as well as larger efforts to study coral reefs in the US through the NSF Moorea Coral Reef LTER, it has a strong potential to have scientific and management implications that extend further than the location of the study.

The following publications and data resulted from this project:

2015    Edmunds PJ, Tsounis G, Lasker HR (2015) Differential distribution of octocorals and scleractinians around St. John and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Hydrobiologia. doi: 10.1007/s10750-015-2555-z
octocoral - sp. abundance and distribution
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2015    Lenz EA, Bramanti L, Lasker HR, Edmunds PJ. Long-term variation of octocoral populations in St. John, US Virgin Islands. Coral Reefs DOI 10.1007/s00338-015-1315-x
octocoral survey - densities
octocoral counts - photoquadrats vs. insitu survey
octocoral literature review
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2015   Privitera-Johnson, K., et al., Density-associated recruitment in octocoral communities in St. John, US Virgin Islands, J.Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2015.08.006
octocoral recruitment
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2014    Edmunds PJ. Landscape-scale variation in coral reef community structure in the United States Virgin Islands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 509: 137–152. DOI 10.3354/meps10891.
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2014    Edmunds PJ, Nozawa Y, Villanueva RD.  Refuges modulate coral recruitment in the Caribbean and Pacific.  Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 454: 78-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.02.00
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2014    Edmunds PJ, Gray SC.  The effects of storms, heavy rain, and sedimentation on the shallow coral reefs of St. John, US Virgin Islands.  Hydrobiologia 734(1):143-148.
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2014    Levitan, D, Edmunds PJ, Levitan K. What makes a species common? No evidence of density-dependent recruitment or mortality of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum after the 1983-1984 mass mortality.  Oecologia. DOI 10.1007/s00442-013-2871-9.
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2014    Lenz EA, Brown D, Didden C, Arnold A, Edmunds PJ.  The distribution of hermit crabs and their gastropod shells on shallow reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands.  Bulletin of Marine Science 90(2):681-692. http://dx.doi.org/10.5343/bms.2013.1049
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2013    Edmunds PJ.  Decadal-scale changes in the community structure of coral reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 489: 107-123.
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (zipped Excel files)

2013    Brown D, Edmunds PJ.  Long-term changes in the population dynamics of the Caribbean hydrocoral Millepora spp.  J. Exp Mar Biol Ecol 441: 62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2013.01.013
Millepora colony size
Millepora cover - temps - storms 1992-2008
Millepora cover 1992-2008
seawater temperature USVI 1992-2008
storms USVI 1992-2008
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2012    Brown D, Edmunds PJ. The hermit crab Calcinus tibicen lives commensally on Millepora spp. in St. John, United States Virgin Islands.  Coral Reefs 32: 127-135. doi: 10.1007/s00338-012-0948-2
crab abundance and coral size
crab displacement behavior
crab nocturnal surveys
crab predator avoidance
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2011    Green DH, Edmunds PJ.  Spatio-temporal variability of coral recruitment on shallow reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands.  Journal of Experimenal Marine Biology and Ecology 397: 220-229.
Data at MCR-VINP.
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)

2011    Colvard NB, Edmunds PJ. (2011) Decadal-scale changes in invertebrate abundances on a Caribbean coral reef.  Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 397(2): 153-160. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2010.11.015
benthic invert codes
inverts - Tektite and Yawzi Pt
inverts - pooled
Download complete data for this publication (Excel file)



[ table of contents | back to top ]

Funding

Funding SourceAward
NSF Division of Environmental Biology (NSF DEB)
NSF Division of Environmental Biology (NSF DEB)

[ table of contents | back to top ]