Diadema Antillarum 17 Years after Mass Mortality: is Recovery Beginning on St. Croix?
caribbean, diadema antillarum, herbivory, recovery
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Diadema antillarum was once ubiquitous in the Caribbean, but mass mortality in 1983-84 reduced its numbers by >97%. We measured Diadema abundance on back reefs and patch reefs that have been well studied for >25 years. From June 2000 to June 2001, populations on back reefs have increased >100% (June 2001 mean densities 0.004-0.368/m2), while patch reef populations increased >350% (June 2001 densities 0.236-0.516/m2). Populations are dominated by small urchins, suggesting high recent recruitment. Increased Diadema densities appear to be affecting macroalgae abundance. The general spatio-temporal pattern of recovery around St. Croix seems to be following that of the die-off, suggesting that the same oceanographic features that spread Diadema's pathogen are now carrying urchin larvae.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Coral Reefs, v. 22, issue 2, p. 181-187
Scholar Commons Citation
Miller, R. J.; Adams, A. J.; Ogden, Nancy B.; Ogden, John C.; and Ebersole, J. P., "Diadema Antillarum 17 Years after Mass Mortality: is Recovery Beginning on St. Croix?" (2003). Integrative Biology Faculty and Staff Publications. 382.