Long-term coral recruit spat counts from USVI starting in 2009.

Website: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/736835
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: 2009-08 - 2016-06

Dataset Description

In this study, coral recruitment was measured on a kilometer-wide scale on shallow (5–6 m depth) fringing reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands, with the objective of determining the extent to which variation in recruitment was affected by biophysical coupling involving temperature and flow. Coral recruitment was measured using settlement tiles deployed at 10 sites along 10 km of shore. The tiles were first deployed in August 2006, and thereafter replaced every ≈6 months to sample from either August to January, or January to August over 2 years. Seawater temperature was recorded at the 10 sites using logging thermistors, and flow was quantified using drogues. Overall, corals recruited at a rate equivalent to 76 corals m− 2 6 months− 1, and were represented mostly by poritids (43% of recruits), agaricids (29%), faviids (17%) and siderastreids (7%). Although the density of recruits differed among sites in a pattern that varied among periods and years, there was a consistent trend for mean density to decline from ≈ 4 corals tile− 1 at eastern sites, to ≤ 1 coral tile− 1 at western sites. One aspect of seawater temperature – the daily range – differed among sites and was greater at western compared to eastern sites, and while it was related inversely to recruitment over one of the sampling periods, it was equivocal as a physical process affecting recruitment. Instead, our results are consistent with biophysical coupling involving patch depletion and downstream filtering, whereby patches of coral larvae are delivered to the south shore of St. John and depleted of larvae through settlement as the water progresses westward.


Acquisition Description

Sampling Methods

These data come from (1) Cabritte Horn, (2) Tektite, (3) Yawzi Point, (4) West Little Lameshur Bay, and (5) White Point. All tiles are at 5-6 m depth and these data describe tiles that are on the reef for ~12 months with replacement occurring in August of each summer. There are 14-16 tiles at each site. Numbers vary due to errors. The tiles are collected, bleached, dried and scored for coral recruits that are scored for presence on the top, side, and bottom of each tile. Top, Bottom and Side are summed to give densities for "All surfaces" by family. The complete method is described in Green and Edmunds (2011).


Processing Description

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
SiteSite of sampling unitless
latLatitude decimal degrees
lonLongitude decimal degrees
YearYear in which recruitment tiles werev recovered and censured. All tiles were replaced in July/August and thus 2009 reports recruitment from July/August 2008 to July/August 2009. unitless
TOTALAll corals found on all syrfaces; all others by family. Other = unknown. count per centimeter squared
SiderastreidaeDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared
FaviidaeDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared
AgaricidaeDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared
PoritidaeDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared
AcroporidaeDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared
OtherDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared
AstrangiaDensities of recruits on all surfaces of settlement tiles (top + bottom + sites) for a combianed area of 225 + 225 + 60 = 510 cm^2. count per centimeter squared


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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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