Open Access Repository

Apparent stability of a low-density Diadema antillarum regime for Puerto Rican coral reefs

Rodriguez-Barreras, R, Montanez-Acuna, A, Otano-Cruz, A and Ling, SD ORCID: 0000-0002-5544-8174 2018 , 'Apparent stability of a low-density Diadema antillarum regime for Puerto Rican coral reefs' , ICES Journal of Marine Science , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsy093.

Full text not available from this repository.


Caribbean reefs have suffered decline in coral cover in recent decades due to recurrent anthropogenic and natural stressors. The regional collapse of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum, combined with overfishing, has contributed to a phase-shift of coral reef communities towards fleshy macroalgal dominance. Here, we examine the population dynamics of D. antillarum at five sites in Puerto Rico from 2011 to 2016 and determine trends between the sea urchin and local benthic habitats. The sea urchin population exhibited low but stable densities (with slight, but non-significant trend of increase), yet showed variability between sites. Large urchins (>60 mm test diam.) were the most abundant across sites and through time, followed by medium urchins (41–60 mm test diam.), whereas small individuals (D. antillarum abundances. Macroalgae cover declined at all sites over the 6 years, ranging 5–86%, whereas live coral cover also decreased across all sites (ranging 4–38%). Diadema antillarum populations in Puerto Rico appear stable with limited evidence for recovery trends back to pre-mass mortality densities. Full population recovery may take longer than expected; however, evidence indicates that the contemporary low-density D. antillarum population represents a novel stable regime.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Rodriguez-Barreras, R and Montanez-Acuna, A and Otano-Cruz, A and Ling, SD
Keywords: sea urchins, coral reefs, Caribbean, demography, phase-shift, macroalgae, population recovery
Journal or Publication Title: ICES Journal of Marine Science
Publisher: Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 1054-3139
DOI / ID Number: 10.1093/icesjms/fsy093
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

Related URLs:
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page