Condition of restored Acropora palmata fragments off Mona Island, Puerto Rico, 2 years after the Fortuna Reefer ship grounding
- Cite this article as:
- Bruckner, A. & Bruckner, R. Coral Reefs (2001) 20: 235. doi:10.1007/s003380100164
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Acropora palmata fragments generated by the Fortuna Reefer ship grounding (1997, Mona Island, Puerto Rico) were secured to reef substrate and to dead, standing A. palmata skeletons using stainless-steel wire (n=1,857). The purpose of this study was to assess fragment survivorship and condition 2 years after the attachment of fragments. Surviving fragments (57%) were larger than dead fragments (26%) and 17% were missing, mostly from shallow water. Live fragments had tissue covering 52% of upper branch surfaces; 23% of the live fragments experienced little or no tissue loss; 27% exhibited proto-branches; 14% had fused to the substrate; and 16% had overgrown the wire. Mortality was greatest in deeper water, especially among fragments secured to A. palmata skeletons. Mortality was attributed to overgrowth by Cliona spp. and macroalgae, predation by Coralliophila abbreviata and Hermodice carunculata, disease, and Stegastes planifrons territories. Limitations associated with the restoration technique include a low ability of coral tissue to overgrow wire and wire corrosion and breakage. Low rates of natural fusion and continued wire failure may hinder long-term recovery as storms periodically detach and remove restored fragments.