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Papers Using REEF Data Presented at the International Coral Reef Symposium, Bali 2000

B.X. Semmens, J.L. Ruesink, and C.V. Pattengill-Semmens.  in prep.  Multi-site multi-species trends: a new tool for coral reef managers.  Proc. International Coral Reef Symposium, October 2000.

Coral reefs are subject to major anthropogenic impacts worldwide and sites in decline are prime candidates for management and restoration. In assessing trends, it is imperative to have data across a wide area, over several years, and for many species. We assessed trends in 50 common coral reef fishes at 21 sites throughout the Florida Keys, based on volunteer surveys for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) from 1993-1999. Analytical techniques were modified from those applied to the Breeding Bird Survey to detect sites with multi-species declines (ordered logistic regression followed by probit-normal analysis). Our results identify a subset of reef sites where trends were relatively poor for most fish species. At East Sambo in particular, a shift in fishing pressure may be reducing the density of fishes. No clear differences in trends were evident where fishing was prohibited in 1996 relative to other fished sites throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, although the expectation is that fish should increase in the future. As volunteer- generated data continue to accumulate, they will provide increasingly useful indicators of unusual community level changes.

Jeffrey, C.F.G, C. Pattengill-Semmens, K. Buja, J.D. Christensen, M. Coyne, M. E. Monaco, and S. Gittings. in prep. Benthic habitat associations of reef fishes in the Florida Keys: Coupling of benthic habitats and fish distributions via GIS technology. Proc. International Coral Reef Symposium, October 2000.

This study tested hypotheses of non-uniform fish distribution among benthic habitats of the Florida Keys. We analyzed spatial trends and correlations between habitat diversity and fish community. The Shannon-Weaver Diversity function, Σpi ln pi, where pi is the proportion of each benthic habitat type at sampling locations, was used as a measure of habitat heterogeneity and was calculated from digitized (Arc View GIS) habitat data. Distribution patterns and benthic habitat associations of common fishes were developed from presence-absence fish data. Fish species richness was non-uniform among benthic habitats. Fish distribution and abundance was also non-uniform among benthic habitats for some species, and fish-habitat associations varied among several reef fish taxa. Probability maps and spatially-explicit GIS prediction models of fish‑habitat associations across spatial scales were developed for several fish species and will be presented. This work has been identified by NOAA’s Marine Sanctuary Division as an important activity to understand habitat-fish interactions within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.


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