Author: Edwin A. Hernandez, Ph.D.
Institution: University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras – Biology Department
This project is aimed at obtaining the spatial and temporal synoptic understanding of coral reef health and the factors affecting it through repeated assessments at a subset of previously characterized permanent transects using standardized techniques. In contrast to previous assessments, however, this study has used more intensive in-situ sampling and was conducted at three different depth zones.
The objectives of this project are to (1) provide a continued temporal baseline (over a variety of reef locations and conditions) that can be used to evaluate the effect (trend) of climate change, localized anthropogenic factors, and/or management practices on the health of coral reef benthic and fish communities, (2) provide a baseline for understanding the rate of temporal change and variability in coral reef benthic and fish communities under variable conditions, and (3) infer possible causative factors underlying observed changes.
This design will allow test null hypotheses that there are no significant differences in spatial and temporal patterns in benthic and fish community structure among reefs (within each individual geographic region), and among geographic regions.
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