Long-term percent coverage data of coral in photoquadrats in St. John USVI starting in 1987.

Website: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/736822
Data Type: Other Field Results
Version: 1
Version Date: 2018-05-17

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
Kelley, ThomasNational Park Service (NPS)Contact
Ake, HannahWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager


Coverage

Spatial Extent: N:18.317 E:-64.72 S:18.307 W:-64.73
Temporal Extent: 1987-12-01 - 2016-08-01

Dataset Description

These data are evidence of the long-term dynamics of shallow coral reefs along the south coast of St. John from as early as 1987. These data describe coral reef community structure as percent cover based on the analysis of color photographs. All of these data originate from color images of photoquadrats recorded annually (usually in the summer) from as early as 1987. The data falls into three groups. The two groups that are contained in this data package are (1) Tektite & Yawzi and (2) Random sites. The juvenile coral density is packaged separately. Tektite – this is at 14 m depth on the eastern side of Great Lameshur Bay and is the original site of the Tektite man-in-the sea project in 1969; this project marked the birth of the Virgin Islands Ecological Research Station (later the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station) that hosts the field component of the project. The reef in this location consists of a single buttress that has remained dominated by Montastraea anularis since the start of the research (1987). These surveys consist of 30 photoquadrats (1 x 1 m) distributed along three, 10 m transects. Yawzi – this is at 9 m depth and is on the western side of Great Lameshur Bay and has been recorded photographically since 1987. This reef also started the study period dominated by Montastraea annularis, but has degraded much more rapidly that the Tektite site. These surveys consist of 30 photoquadrats (1 x 1 m) distributed along three, 10 m transects. Random sites – were added in 1992 to address the concern that the original sites (Yawzi and Tektite) were selected on “good” areas of reef and, therefore, could only decline in condition. The Random sites were selected using random coordinates in 1992, and consist of 6 sites (at 7-9 m depth) scattered between Cabritte Point and White Point. All lie a little shoreward of Yawzi and Tektite, and have always been characterized by low coral cover (< 10% cover). The surveys consist of 18-40 photoquadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m; with sample size determined by the exposures on a 35 mm cassette versus digital techniques) that are placed at random points along a transect.


Acquisition Description

Sampling design and sites

Tektite – this is at 14 m depth on the eastern side of Great Lameshur Bay and is the original site of the Tektite man-in-the sea project in 1969; this project marked the birth of the Virgin Islands Ecological Research Station (later the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station) that hosts the field component of the project. The reef in this location consists of a single buttress that has remained dominated by Montastraea anularis since the start of the research (1987). These surveys consist of 30 photoquadrats (1 x 1 m) distributed along three, 10 m transects.

Yawzi – this is at 9 m depth and is on the western side of Great Lameshur Bay and has been recorded photographically since 1987. This reef also started the study period dominated by Montastraea annularis, but has degraded much more rapidly that the Tektite site. These surveys consist of 30 photoquadrats (1 x 1 m) distributed along three, 10 m transects.

Random Sites - The Random sites were selected using random coordinates in 1992, and consist of 6 sites (at 7-9 m depth) scattered between Cabritte Point and White Point. All lie a little shoreward of Yawzi and Tektite, and have always been characterized by low coral cover (less than 10% cover). The surveys consist of 18-40 photoquadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m; with sample size determined by the exposures on a 35 mm cassette versus digital techniques) that are placed at random points along a transect.


Processing Description

Parameters for Photoquadrat Analysis

CPCe software is used to quantify the area of benthic taxa using a matrix of 200 randomly spaced dots each 15 pixels in diameter. Prior to the use of CPCe the area of benthic taxa was quantified by superimposing a matrix of 200 randomly located circles on the image and counting the circles landing on the substratum category of interest.

BCO-DMO Processing Notes:

-Reformatted column names to comply with BCO-DMO standards.
-Added Latitude and Longitude to data


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Parameters

ParameterDescriptionUnits
siteLocation of quadrat that was photographed or videotaped unitless
latLatitude of site decimal degrees
lonLongitude of site decimal degrees
DateDate that quadrat was photographed or videotaped; YYYY/MM/DD unitless
QuadratQuadrat number unitless
percent_CoralPercentage cover of coral on seafloor in each image percent
percent_MacroalgaePercentage cover of macroalgae on seafloor in each image percent
percent_CTDPercentage cover of CTB on seafloor in each image percent


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Instruments

Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Camera
Generic Instrument Name
Camera
Dataset-specific Description
Used to take photographs of coral
Generic Instrument Description
All types of photographic equipment including stills, video, film and digital systems.


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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


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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
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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
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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
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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
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Funding

Funding SourceAward
NSF Division of Environmental Biology (NSF DEB)

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