This is an annotated list of the published papers and reports that have included REEF data. The list is in chronological order. Papers that are available for viewing in .pdf format are noted.
Also see the Projects page for links to additional reports.
In 2006, researchers from Univeristy of North Carolina Willmington collaborated with Grouper Moon Project researchers from REEF and Cayman Island Department of Environment to conduct mobile hydroacoustic surveys on the Little Cayman spawning aggregation site. Hydroacoustics, which is similar to a fish finder device found on a recreational fishing boat, but with better resolution and technology, has emerged as a valuable tool in fishery population assessments. The goal of the study was to determine the utility of this emerging technology to assist in the estimation of density, spatial extent, and total abundance of a Nassau grouper. This report summarizes the field effort and findings.
Though declines in coral health have been documented worldwide, the effects of this decline on reef inhabitants are poorly studied. Studies monitoring fish abundances through coral declines are often inconclusive or contradictory in their results. This study uses fish assemblage data from REEF's database, as well as bleaching data compiled by ReefBase and reef health data collected by Reef Check, to correlate reef inhabitant abundance with bleaching events. Data are analyzed with respect to species, reef location, bleaching severity, and recovery time. Preliminary results show that the majority of species do not change in abundance following a bleaching event. Of those that do change, both increases and decreases are seen, and the direction of change, even within a single species, is often dependent on the time since the event. This suggests that a local decline in coral health may not have an immediate negative impact on the community and that a window of opportunity to preserve community structure following coral mortality may exist. This work was presented at the Summer 2006 International American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) meeting in Spain.
This study used REEF data from Bonaire, an area where several thousand REEF surveys have been conducted, to evaluate patterns in species occurrence. Their results suggest that species interactions, and/or species-habitat relationships may be important behavioral attributes mediating the local structure of fish assemblages on these coral reefs. This work was also presented at the International Coral Reef Symposium in 2004.
REEF data were one of three datasets used in the most recent stock assessment of the Goliath grouper, a species that is currently protected from harvest due to very low numbers in the 1980s. Because this species is not fished, fisheries managers must use fisheries-independent datasets and the REEF database represents a valuable source of this information.
Sightings data submitted to REEF's Exotic Species Sighting Program through 2002 are summarized in this paper. The data show a hot-spot of non-native marine fishes along south Florida (Broward and Palm Beach Counties). The authors evaluated potential vectors of introduction and pinpointed the aquarium trade as the likely source.
This paper summarizes the finding from the 2002 REEF Grouper Moon Project, which documented the characteristics of a newly discovered Nassau grouper spawning aggregation. At its peak, over 5,000 Nassau grouper were present at the site. Significant contributions include the visual and video documentation of four nights of spawning of Nassau grouper, the description of crepuscular and lunar movements and color phase shifts in the grouper, and the documentation of courtship/spawning behavior in ten additional species. This paper was also presented at the 2002 Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting.
This paper evaluates two sets of fisheries-independant data on Goliath grouper populations in Florida. The datasets include the REEF Survey Project database and personal observations from a professional spearfisher. Because all harvest of this species was prohibted starting in 1990, fisheries-independant data like these are critical to understanding change in the populations, including any recovery that may be occuring. The paper also provides information on standarization techniquest that can be applied to the REEF data.
This paper reviews the role of partnerships in the success of REEF's program. Several examples of how REEF has used partnerships are presented. These include monitoring program parternships, data sharing and the use of data by others, the conservation contributions of the REEF program, and the educational component of partnerships.
This paper is the result of a 1999 AGRRA expedition to the Cayman Islands coordinated by the Marine Education and Environmental Research Institute (MEERI). The paper uses the REEF database (over 1,200 surveys from the Cayman Islands) and the AGRRA fish data to provide an updated species list for the Islands, a comparison between islands (Grand Cayman and Little Cayman) and sites (33 sites), and an analysis of the relationships between herbivorous fishes and algal cover. Thanks to the REEF database, 44 species were added to the list of fishes known to occur on the Islands. A site's location (windward or leeward) appeared to be an important factor in community composition. Additionally, many species had significantly higher abundances on Little Cayman, including groupers which is probably an indication of the difference in anthropogenic impacts between the two islands.
This report summarizes the 2002 data from REEF's annual assessment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. A total of 37 sites from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas are monitored each year with REEF's Advanced Assessment Team, to evaluate status, trends and the effect of no-take reserves.