, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 91-106

Changes in the reef-coral community of Carysfort reef, Key Largo, Florida: 1974 to 1982

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Abstract

Data from 21 permanently marked line transects showed that significant changes occurred in the composition of the reef coral community on Carysfort Reef between 1975 and 1982–1983. Coral populations between 0 and 9 m show signs of change due primarily to physical disturbance while corals living between 10 and 21 m have decreased in abundance as a result of sedimentation and disease. Some species show no signs of change while others appear to be undergoing shifts in their vertical distribution and/or significantly decreasing in mean colony size. Observed decreases in species diversity and eveness of the reef-building corals suggest that the vitality of Carysfort Reef declined between 1975 and 1982–1983.