MEPS 374:33-41 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07650

Local changes in community diversity after coral transplantation

Helen T. Yap*

The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

ABSTRACT: Over several decades, coral transplantation has been developed as a tool to rehabilitate damaged coral reef habitats. This investigation aimed to determine whether this form of intervention would result in a significant improvement in diversity and abundance of associated reef species. The experiment consisted of 4 treatments: undisturbed sites (which also served as sources of the transplants), degraded plots to which corals were transplanted, empty plots that received no transplants, and control plots that were empty and situated at least 100 m away from the transplant and empty plots. The latter 3 treatments were replicated at 4 different sites. The establishment or movement of fish and invertebrates, as well as the abundance of algae, were recorded on a quarterly basis. Both non-metric multidimensional scaling and repeated measures ANOVA detected significant differences among treatments, with transplant plots having higher numbers and abundances of taxa than the empty plots and the empty controls. The 2 latter treatments did not differ significantly from each other. The source sites had higher abundances of coral recruits (Poritidae) than all the other treatments and of sea urchins (Diadematidae) than the empty plots and empty controls. The transplant plots harbored greater numbers of damselfish (Pomacentridae) and sea urchins than the empty plots and empty controls. Thus, coral transplantation resulted in higher diversity and greater abundance of fish and invertebrates and has the potential to help re-establish degraded reef communities.

KEY WORDS: Coral transplantation · Coral restoration · Biodiversity

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Cite this article as: Yap HT (2009) Local changes in community diversity after coral transplantation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 374:33-41

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