MEPS - Vol. 359 - Feature article

Shallow coral reef (6 m depth) in Grenada, West Indies, where Porites astreoides is the dominant coral. Photo: Peter Edmunds

Green DH, Edmunds PJ, Carpenter RC

 

Increasing relative abundance of Porites astreoides on Caribbean reefs mediated by an overall decline in coral cover

 

Coral cover has declined considerably throughout the world over the past 50 yr, particularly in the Caribbean. One species of coral, Porites astreoides, appears to be more resistant than others to the factors causing this decline; surveys completed in 2003 and 2004 revealed that P. astreoides comprises a large fraction of the present coral cover throughout the Caribbean region. Comparison with studies completed between 1974 and 1992 suggests that its absolute cover has remained stable over the past 30 yr. As other corals have died, the relative contribution of P. astreoides to cover on Caribbean coral reefs has increased at a rate of 1.5% yr-1.

 

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