Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 405–428 | Cite as

Assessment of the aquatic biodiversity of a threatened coastal lagoon at Bimini, Bahamas

  • David E. Jennings
  • Joseph D. DiBattista
  • Kristine L. Stump
  • Nigel E. Hussey
  • Bryan R. Franks
  • R. Dean Grubbs
  • Samuel H. Gruber
Article

Abstract

Coastal biodiversity is threatened worldwide by both direct and indirect anthropogenic activities. To more effectively manage and protect coastal biodiversity, accurate assessments of genetic, species, and ecosystem level diversity are required. We present the results from an assessment of the aquatic species diversity of a small (3 km2), shallow, mangrove-fringed Bahamian lagoon (the North Sound) subject to ongoing anthropogenic development. The assessment was conducted through a collation of field observations and data in published literature. We found that eight angiosperm species, 30 macroalgal species, and 370 animal species (including 95 fishes, 69 arthropods, 56 birds, and 45 mollusks) were documented within the lagoon. At least 11 of these species are of conservation concern, such as the critically endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Comparisons of community similarity indicated that the North Sound has a relatively distinct fauna and flora, but available data suggest that the species found there are most similar to those found in nearby habitats in Cuba. The lagoon forms a key nursery habitat for many species, including lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris), Caribbean spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus), and queen conch (Strombas gigas). Recently, the lagoon was included as part of a new marine protected area (MPA), but much of the habitat has already experienced considerable anthropogenic disturbance and the MPA boundaries have yet to be established. We have therefore analyzed the lagoon biodiversity and expect the data presented here to serve as a baseline for future comparisons.

Keywords

Aquatic biodiversity Bahamas Lagoon Mangroves Marine protected area Seagrass 

References

  1. Aburto-Oropeza O, Ezcurra E, Danemann G, Valdez V, Murray J, Sala E (2008) Mangroves in the Gulf of California increase fishery yields. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105:10456–10459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams AJ et al (2006) Nursery function of tropical back-reef systems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 318:287–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Afonso AS, Gruber SH (2007) Pueruli settlement in the Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, at Bimini, Bahamas. Crustaceana 80:1355–1371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Airoldi L, Balata D, Beck MW (2008) The Gray Zone: relationships between habitat loss and marine diversity and their applications in conservation. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 366:8–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alongi DM (2002) Present state and future of the world’s mangrove forests. Environ Conservat 29:331–349Google Scholar
  6. Anderson C, Lee SY (1995) Defoliation of the mangrove Avicennia marina in Hong Kong: causes and consequences. Biotropica 27:218–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Angel MV (1993) Biodiversity of the pelagic ocean. Conserv Biol 7:760–772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Badola R, Hussain SA (2005) Valuing ecosystem functions: an empirical study on the storm protection function of Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem, India. Environ Conservat 32:85–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baelde P (1990) Differences in the structures of fish assemblages in Thalassia testudinum beds in Guadeloupe, French West Indies, and their ecological significance. Mar Biol 105:163–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bouchereau J-L, PdT C, Monti D (2008) Factors structuring the ichthyofauna assemblage in a mangrove lagoon (Guadeloupe, French West Indies). J Coast Res 24:969–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brook BW, Sodhi NS, Ng PKL (2003) Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore. Nature 424:420–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Buchan KC (2000) The Bahamas. Mar Pollut Bull 41:94–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Casares FA, Creed JC (2008) Do small seagrasses enhance density, richness, and diversity of macrofauna? J Coast Res 24:790–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cedeno J, Jimenez Prieto M, Pereda L, Allen T (2010) Abundance and richness of mollusks and crustaceans associated to the submerged roots of red mangrove (Rluzophora mangle) at Bocaripo Lagoon, Sucre, Venezuela. Rev Biol Trop 58:213–226Google Scholar
  15. Chapman DD et al (2009) Long-term natal site-fidelity by immature lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) at a subtropical island. Mol Ecol 18:3500–3507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chavez EA (2009) Potential production of the Caribbean spiny lobster (Decapoda, Palinura) fisheries. Crustaceana 82:1393–1412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cortes E, Gruber SH (1990) Diet, feeding habits and estimates of daily ration of young lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris (Poey). Copeia 1990(1):204–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dahlgren CP (2002) Marine reserves in the Bahamas. Bahamas Journal of Science 9:41–49Google Scholar
  19. Das S, Vincent JR (2009) Mangroves protected villages and reduced death toll during Indian super cyclone. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:7357–7360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. de Jesus-Navarrete A, Medina-Quej A, Oliva-Rivera JJ (2003) Changes in the queen conch (Strombus gigas L.) population structure at Banco Chinchorro, Quintana Roo, Mexico, 1990–1997. Bull Mar Sci 73:219–229Google Scholar
  21. de la Guardia E, Gonzalez-Sanson G, Aguilar C (2003) Marine biodiversity of Guanal coastal lagoon, Cayo Largo, Cuba. Revista de Investigaciones Marinas 24:111–116Google Scholar
  22. de Laubenfels MW (1949) Sponges of the western Bahamas. American Museum Novitates 1431Google Scholar
  23. Dorenbosch M, van Riel MC, Nagelkerken I, van der Velde G (2004) The relationship of reef fish densities to the proximity of mangrove and seagrass nurseries. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 60:37–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Duffy JE (2006) Biodiversity and the functioning of seagrass ecosystems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 311:233–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Duffy JE (2009) Why biodiversity is important in the functioning of real-world ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 7:437–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Eggleston DB, Grover JJ, Lipcius RN (1998) Ontogenetic diet shifts in Nassau grouper: trophic linkages and predatory impact. Bull Mar Sci 63:111–126Google Scholar
  27. Fondo EN, Martens EE (1998) Effects of mangrove deforestation on macrofaunal densities, Gazi Bay, Kenya. Mangroves and Saltmarshes 2:75–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Forester DJ, Machlis GE (1996) Modeling human factors that affect the loss of biodiversity. Conserv Biol 10:1253–1263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Frankham R (2005) Genetics and extinction. Biol Conserv 126:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Franks BR (2007) The spatial ecology and resource selection of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in their primary nursery areas. Ph. D. Dissertation, Drexel University, 203 ppGoogle Scholar
  31. Fucella JE, Dolan R (1996) Magnitude of subaerial beach disturbance during northeast storms. J Coast Res 12:420–429Google Scholar
  32. Gopal B, Chauhan M (2006) Biodiversity and its conservation in the Sundarban Mangrove Ecosystem. Aquat Sci 68:338–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Granek EF, Frasier K (2007) The impacts of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) deforestation on zooplankton communities in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Bull Mar Sci 80:905–914Google Scholar
  34. Granek EF, Ruttenberg BI (2007) Protective capacity of mangroves during tropical storms: a case study from ‘Wilma’ and ‘Gamma’ in Belize. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 343:101–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gray JS (1997) Marine biodiversity: patterns, threats and conservation needs. Biodivers Conserv 6:153–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gruber SH, Parks W (2002) Mega-resort development on Bimini: sound economics or environmental disaster? Bahamas Journal of Science 9:2–18Google Scholar
  37. Gruber SH, Brown CA, Henningsen AD (1985) Age and growth of the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris (Poey), as determined by mark-recapture data and the examination of tetracycline labeled vertebral centra. Am Zool 25:A106–A106Google Scholar
  38. Gruber SH, Nelson DR, Morrissey JF (1988) Patterns of activity and space utilization of lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris, in a shallow Bahamian lagoon. Bull Mar Sci 43:61–76Google Scholar
  39. Guttridge TL, Gruber SH, Gledhill KS, Croft DP, Sims DW, Krause J (2009) Social preferences of juvenile lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris. Anim Behav 78:543–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Halpern BS (2004) Are mangroves a limiting resource for two coral reef fishes? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 272:93–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Halpern BS, Selkoe KA, Micheli F, Kappel CV (2007) Evaluating and ranking the vulnerability of global marine ecosystems to anthropogenic threats. Conserv Biol 21:1301–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hatcher BG, Johannes RE, Robertson AI (1989) Review of research relevant to the conservation of shallow tropical marine ecosystems. Oceanogr Mar Biol 27:337–414Google Scholar
  43. Hay WH, Wiedenmayer F, Ds M (1970) Modern organism communities of Bimini lagoon and their relation to the sediments. In: Supko P, Marszalek DS, Bock W (eds) Sedimentary environments and carbonate rocks of Bimini, Bahamas. Miami Geological Society, Miami, pp 19–30Google Scholar
  44. Heupel MR, Carlson JK, Simpfendorfer CA (2007) Shark nursery areas: concepts, definition, characterization and assumptions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 337:287–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hilton GM, Murray T, Cleeves T, Hughes B, Williams EG (2000) Wetland birds in Turks and Caicos Islands II: wetland bird communities. Wildfowl 51:127–138Google Scholar
  46. Hooper DU, Chapin FS, Ewel JJ, Hector A, Inchausti P, Lavorel S, Lawton JH, Lodge DM, Loreau M, Naeem S, Schmid B, Setala H, Symstad AJ, Vandermeer J, Wardle DA (2005) Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current knowledge. Ecol Monogr 75:3–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hughes AR, Stachowicz JJ (2004) Genetic diversity enhances the resistance of a seagrass ecosystem to disturbance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101:8998–9002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hussey NE (2003) An evaluation of Landsat 7 ETM+ satellite imagery for quantitative biotope mapping of the Bimini Islands, the Bahamas including two known lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) nursery grounds. M. Sc. Thesis. University of Wales, Bangor, 167 ppGoogle Scholar
  49. IUCN (2010) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Cited 14 Nov 2010
  50. Jaccard P (1912) The distribution of flora in the alpine zone. New Phytol 11:37–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Jacobsen T (1987) An ecosystem-level study of a shallow Bahamian lagoon: biomass estimation of the lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris), a top consumer species. Ph. D. Dissertation, University of Georgia, 240 ppGoogle Scholar
  52. Jaffe BE, Smith RE, Foxgrover AC (2007) Anthropogenic influence on sedimentation and intertidal mudflat change in San Pablo Bay, California: 1856–1983. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 73:175–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jelbart JE, Ross PM, Connolly RM (2007) Fish assemblages in seagrass beds are influenced by the proximity of mangrove forests. Mar Biol 150:993–1002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Jennings DE, Gruber SH, Franks BR, Kessel ST, Robertson AL (2008) Effects of large-scale anthropogenic development on juvenile lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) populations of Bimini, Bahamas. Environ Biol Fishes 83:369–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kirsteuer E (1969) On some species of Gnathostomulida from Bimini, Bahamas. American Museum Novitates 2356Google Scholar
  56. Kornicker LS (1958) Ecology and taxonomy of recent marine ostracodes in the Bimini area, Great Bahama Bank. Publ Inst Mar Sci Univ Tex 5:194–300Google Scholar
  57. Kornicker LS (1959) Distribution of the ostracode suborder Cladopa, and a new species from the Bahamas. Micropaleontology 5:69–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kornicker LS (1963) Ecology and classification of Bahamian Cytherellidae (Ostracoda). Micropaleontology 9:61–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Layman CA, Arrington DA, Langerhans RB, Silliman BR (2004) Degree of fragmentation affects fish assemblage structure in Andros Island (Bahamas) estuaries. Caribb J Sci 40:232–244Google Scholar
  60. Lerberg SB, Holland AF, Sanger DM (2000) Responses of tidal creek macrobenthic communities to the effects of watershed development. Estuaries 23:838–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Long ZT, Bruno JF, Duffy JE (2007) Biodiversity mediates productivity through different mechanisms at adjacent trophic levels. Ecology 88:2821–2829CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lutz S, Broad K, Talaue-McManus L, Sanchirico JN, Stoffle RW (2002) Human dimensions of marine reserve policy—application to the Bimini Islands of the Bahamas. Bahamas Journal of Science 9:50–57Google Scholar
  63. Magurran AE (1998) Population differentiation without speciation. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 353:275–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Manson FJ, Loneragan NR, Skilleter GA, Phinn SR (2005) An evaluation of the evidence for linkages between mangroves and fisheries: a synthesis of the literature and identification of research directions. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 43:483–513Google Scholar
  65. Mateo I, Tobias WJ (2007) A comparison of fish assemblages among five habitat types within a Caribbean lagoonal system. Gulf Caribb Res 19:21–31Google Scholar
  66. Meynecke JO, Lee SY, Duke NC (2008) Linking spatial metrics and fish catch reveals the importance of coastal wetland connectivity to inshore fisheries in Queensland, Australia. Biol Conserv 141:981–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Mumby PJ et al (2004) Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean. Nature 427:533–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Nagelkerken I, van der Velde G, Gorissen MW, Meijer GJ, van’t Hof T, den Hartog C (2000) Importance of mangroves, seagrass beds and the shallow coral reef as a nursery for important coral reef fishes, using a visual census technique. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 51:31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Nagelkerken I et al (2002) How important are mangroves and seagrass beds for coral-reef fish? The nursery hypothesis tested on an island scale. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 244:299–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Nagelkerken I et al (2008) The habitat function of mangroves for terrestrial and marine fauna: a review. Aquat Bot 89:155–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Newell ND, Imbrie J, Purdy EG, Thurber DL (1959) Organism communities and bottom facies, Great Bahama Bank. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 117:183–228Google Scholar
  72. Newman SP (2003) Spatial and temporal variation in diet and prey preference of nursery-bound juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) at Bimini. Ph. D. Dissertation. University of Plymouth, 268 ppGoogle Scholar
  73. Orth RJ et al (2006) A global crisis for seagrass ecosystems. Bioscience 56:987–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Parsons DM, Eggleston DB (2006) Human and natural predators combine to alter behavior and reduce survival of Caribbean spiny lobster. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 334:196–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pearse AS (1950) Notes on the inhabitants of certain sponges at Bimini. Ecology 31:149–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Primavera JH (1991) Intensive prawn farming in the Philippines: ecological, social, and economic implications. Ambio 20:28–33Google Scholar
  77. Renaud JC (1956) A report on some polychaetous annelids from the Miami-Bimini area. American Museum Novitates 1812Google Scholar
  78. Risser PG (1995) Biodiversity and ecosystem function. Conserv Biol 9:742–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Robertson AI, Blaber SJM (1992) Plankton, epibenthos, and fish communities. In: Alongi DM, Robertson AI (eds) Tropical mangrove ecosystems. American Geophysical Union, WashingtonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Schapira D, Montano IA, Antczak A, Posada JM (2009) Using shell middens to assess effects of fishing on queen conch (Strombus gigas) populations in Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela. Mar Biol (Berlin) 156:787–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schweizer D, Posada JM (2006) Distribution, density, and abundance of the queen conch, Strombus gigas, in Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela. Bull Mar Sci 79:243–257Google Scholar
  82. Serafy JE, Faunce CH, Lorenz JJ (2003) Mangrove shoreline fishes of Biscayne Bay, Florida. Bull Mar Sci 72:161–180Google Scholar
  83. Shinnaka T, Sano M, Ikejima K, Tongnunui P, Horinouchi M, Kurokura H (2007) Effects of mangrove deforestation on fish assemblage at Pak Phanang Bay, southern Thailand. Fish Sci 73:862–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Smith CL, Tyler JC, Feinberg MN (1981) Population ecology and biology of the pearlfish (Carapus bermudensis) in the lagoon at Bimini, Bahamas. Bull Mar Sci 31:876–902Google Scholar
  85. Sorensen T (1948) A method of establishing groups of equal amplitude in plant sociology based on similarity of species content. Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab 5:1–34Google Scholar
  86. Squires DF (1958) Stony corals from the vicinity of Bimini, Bahamas, British West Indies. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 115:215–262Google Scholar
  87. Stafford-Deitsch J (1996) Mangrove—the forgotten habitat. Immel Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  88. Stoner AW (2003) What constitutes essential nursery habitat for a marine species? A case study of habitat form and function for queen conch. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 257:275–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Sundstrom LF et al (2001) Review of elasmobranch behavioral studies using ultrasonic telemetry with special reference to the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, around Bimini Islands, Bahamas. Environ Biol Fishes 60:225–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Vilardy S, Polania J (2002) Mollusc fauna of the mangrove root-fouling community at the Colombian Archipelago of San Andres and Old Providence. Wetlands Ecology and Management 10:273–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Voss GL, Voss NA (1960) An ecological survey of the marine invertebrates of Bimini, Bahamas, with a consideration of their zoogeographical relationships. Bull Mar Sci Gulf Caribb 10:96–116Google Scholar
  92. Waycott M et al (2009) Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:12377–12381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. White AM (2002) Checklist of Bimini birds. Bahamas Journal of Science 9:63–67Google Scholar
  94. Wiedenmayer F (1977) Description of the Habitats and Communities of Bimini: Shallow Water Sponges of the Western Bahamas. Birkhauser Verlog, BaselGoogle Scholar
  95. Williamson I, King C, Mather PB (1994) A comparison of fish communities in unmodified and modified inshore habitats of Raby Bay, Queensland. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 39:401–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Worm B et al (2006) Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science 314:787–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Jennings
    • 1
  • Joseph D. DiBattista
    • 2
  • Kristine L. Stump
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nigel E. Hussey
    • 5
  • Bryan R. Franks
    • 6
  • R. Dean Grubbs
    • 7
  • Samuel H. Gruber
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Hawai’i Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawai’iKane’oheUSA
  3. 3.Bimini Biological Field StationBiminiBahamas
  4. 4.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  5. 5.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  6. 6.Department of BiologyRollins CollegeWinter ParkUSA
  7. 7.Florida State University Coastal and Marine LaboratorySt. TeresaUSA

Personalised recommendations