MEPS 415:189-200 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08739

Ecological impacts of the 2005 red tide on artificial reef epibenthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities in the eastern Gulf of Mexico

Jennifer M. Dupont*, Pamela Hallock, Walter C. Jaap

University of South Florida College of Marine Science, 140 7th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA

ABSTRACT: A harmful algal bloom (red tide) and associated anoxic/hypoxic event in 2005 resulted in massive fish kills and comparable mortality of epibenthic communities in depths <25 m along the central west Florida shelf. There is a robust body of information on the etiology of red tide and human health issues; however, there is virtually no quantitative information on the effects of red tide on epibenthic macroinvertebrate and demersal fish communities. Ongoing monitoring of recruitment and succession on artificial reef structures provided a focused time series (2005 to 2007) before and after the red-tide disturbance. Radical changes in community structures of artificial reefs were observed after the red tide. Scleractinian corals, poriferans, and echinoderms were among the epibenthos most affected. Fish species richness declined by >50%, with significant reductions in the abundances of most species. Successional stages were monitored over the next 2 yr; stages tended to follow a predictable progression and revert to a pre-red tide state, corroborating previous predictions that the frequency of disturbance events in the shallow eastern Gulf of Mexico may limit the effective species pool of colonists. Substantial recovery of the benthos occurred in 2 yr, which was more rapid than predicted in previous studies.


KEY WORDS: Disturbance recovery · Assemblage succession · Red tide · Artificial reefs · West Florida shelf


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Dupont JM, Hallock P, Jaap WC (2010) Ecological impacts of the 2005 red tide on artificial reef epibenthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 415:189-200. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08739

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -