Advertisement

Coral Reefs

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 31–42 | Cite as

Coral reef distribution, status and geomorphology–biodiversity relationship in Kuna Yala (San Blas) archipelago, Caribbean Panama

  • Serge Andréfouët
  • Hector M. Guzman
Report

Abstract

Most of the knowledge of the reef geomorphology and benthic communities of Kuna Yala coral reefs (Caribbean Panama) comes from the western side of the archipelago, a few tens of kilometers around Punta San Blas (Porvenir). To bridge the gap between Porvenir and the Colombia–Panama border, we investigated with Landsat images the extent and geomorphological diversity of the entire Kuna Yala to provide geomorphologic maps of the archipelago in 12 classes. In addition to remote sensing data, in situ survey conducted in May–June 2001 provided a Kuna Yala-wide first synoptic vision of reef status, in terms of benthic diversity (number of species of coral, octocorals, and sponges) and reef health (coral versus algal cover). For a total reef system estimated to cover 638 km2 along 480 km of coastline, 195 km2 include coral dominated areas and only 35 km2 can be considered covered by corals. A total of 69 scleractinian coral, 38 octocoral, and 82 sponge species were recorded on the outer slopes of reef formations, with a slightly higher diversity in the area presenting the most abundant and diverse reef formations (western Kuna Yala). Attempts to relate benthic diversity and geomorphological diversity provided only weak relationships regardless of the taxa, and suggest that habitat heterogeneity within geomorphological areas explain better the patterns of coral diversity. This study confirms the potential of combined remote sensing and in situ surveys for regional scale assessment, and we suggest that similar approaches should be generalized for reef mapping and assessment for other reef sites.

Keywords

Landsat Remote sensing Geomorphology Mapping San Blas Coral reef diversity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Congreso General Kuna for giving permission to conduct this study. We thank Carlos Guevara, Arcadio Castillo, John Akl and the crew of the R/V Urraca for their help in the field in May and June 2001. This work was partially supported by the Fundación Natura de Panama, Kuna’s AEK-PEMASKY, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and by National Air and Space Administration grant NAG5-10908 to SA and grant CARBON-0000-0257 to Kamlesh Lulla and Julie A. Robinson at Johnson Space Center, Houston. NASA Scientific Data Purchase program provided one of the Landsat images processed for this study. Ed Green and Corinna Ravilious provided the UNEP-WCMC data used in Fig. 1. This is IMaRS contribution No. 062.

References

  1. Adjeroud M, Andréfouët S, Payri C, Orrempuller J (2000a) Physical factors of differentiation in macrobenthic communities between atoll lagoons in the Central Tuamotu Archipelago (French Polynesia). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 196:39–48Google Scholar
  2. Adjeroud M, Andréfouët S, Galzin R, Harmelin-Vivien M, Kulbicki M, Mou-Tham G (2000b) Premiers résultats concernant le benthos et les poissons au cours des missions TYPATOLL. Report IRD Nouméa, New-Caledonia, Documents Scientifiques et Techniques II-3, Dec 2000Google Scholar
  3. Andréfouët S, Payri C (2001) Scaling-up carbon and carbonate metabolism in coral reefs using in situ and remote sensing data. Coral Reefs 19:259–269Google Scholar
  4. Andréfouët S, Kramer P, Torres-Pulliza D, Joyce KE, Hochberg EJ, Garza-Perez R, Mumby PJ, Riegl B, Yamano H, White WH, Zubia M, Brock JC, Phinn SR, Naseer A, Hatcher BG, Muller-Karger FE (2003a) Multi-sites evaluation of Ikonos data for classification of tropical coral reef environments. Remote Sens Environ 88:128–143Google Scholar
  5. Andréfouët S, Hochberg EJ, Payri C, Atkinson MJ, Muller-Karger FE, Ripley H (2003b), Multi-scale remote sensing of microbial mats in atoll environments. Int J Remote Sens 24(13):2661–2682Google Scholar
  6. Andréfouët S, Zubia M, Payri C (2004) Mapping and biomass estimation of the invasive brown algae Turbinaria ornata (Turner) J. Agardh and Sargassum mangarevense (Grunow) Setchell on heterogeneous Tahitian coral reefs using 4-meter resolution Ikonos satellite data. Coral Reefs 23(1):26–38Google Scholar
  7. Beger M, Jones GP, Munday PL (2003) Conservation of coral reef biodiversity: a comparison of reserve selection procedures for corals and fishes. Biol Cons 111:53–62Google Scholar
  8. Bellwood DR, Hughes TP (2001) Regional-scale assembly rules and biodiversity of coral reefs. Science 292:1532–1534Google Scholar
  9. Clifton KE, Kim K, Wulff JL (1997) A field guide to the reef of Caribbean Panamá, with an emphasis on Western San Blas. In: proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reefs Symposium 1, pp 167–184Google Scholar
  10. Cornell HV, Karlson RH (2000) Coral species richness: ecological versus biogeographical influences. Coral Reefs 19:37–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dahl AL, Macintyre IG, Antonius A (1974) Comparative investigations of tropical reef ecosystems; background for an integrated coral reef program. Atoll Res Bull 172–173Google Scholar
  12. Díaz J, Barrios L, Cendales M, Garzón-Ferreira J, Geister J, Lopez-Victoria M, Ospina G, Parra-Velandia E, Pinzón J, Vargas-Angel B, Zapata F, Zea S (2000) Areas coralinas de Colombia. Serie Pub. Especiales No. 5. INVEMAR, Santa Marta, p 176Google Scholar
  13. Fabricius K, De’ath G (2001) Biodiversity on the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale patterns and turbidity related local loss of soft coral taxa. In: Wolanski E (ed) Oceanographic processes of coral reefs: physical and biological links in the Great Barrier Reef. CRC, Boca Raton, pp 127–144Google Scholar
  14. Foody GM (2002) Status of land cover classification accuracy assessment. Remote Sens Environ 80:185–201Google Scholar
  15. Galzin R, Planes S, Dufour V, Salvat B (1994) Variation in diversity of coral reef fish between French Polynesian atolls. Coral Reefs 13:175–180Google Scholar
  16. Gaston KJ (2000) Global patterns in biodiversity. Nature 405:220–227CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Glynn PW, Ault JS (2000) A biogeographic analysis and review of the far eastern Pacific coral reef region. Coral Reefs 19:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Green EP, Mumby PJ, Edwards AJ, Clark CD (2000) Remote sensing handbook for tropical coastal management. UNESCO, Paris, p 316Google Scholar
  19. Guilcher A (1988) Coral reef geomorphology. John Wiley, New York, p 228Google Scholar
  20. Guzman HM, Guevara C (2001) Arrecifes coralinos de Bocas del Toro, Panamá: IV. Distribución, estructura y estado de conservación de los arrecifes continentales de Península Valiente. Rev Biol Trop 49:53–66Google Scholar
  21. Guzman HM, Jackson JBC, Weil E (1991) Short-term ecological consequences of a major oil spill on Panamanian subtidal reef corals. Coral Reefs 10:1–12Google Scholar
  22. Guzman HM, Andréfouët S, Guevara CA, Akl J, (2002) Distribución, estructura y estado de conservación de los arrecifes coralinos de Kuna-Yala (San Blas), República de Panamá. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Report to Pemaski and Natura, p 44Google Scholar
  23. Guzman HM, Guevara CA, Castillo A (2003) Natural disturbances and mining of Panamanian coral reefs by indigenous people. Cons Biol 17:1–7Google Scholar
  24. Holst I, Guzman H (1993) Listas de corales hermatípicos (Anthozoa: Scleractinia; Hydrozoa: Milleporina) a ambos lados del istmo de Panamá. Rev Biol Trop 41:535–540Google Scholar
  25. Joyce KE, Phinn SR, Roelfsema CM, Neil DT, Dennison WC (2004) Combining Landsat ETM+ and Reef Check classifications for mapping coral reefs: a critical assessment from the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs 23(1):21–25Google Scholar
  26. Lasker H, Peters E, Coffroth M (1984) Bleaching of reef coelenterates in the San Blas Islands, Panama. Coral Reefs 3:183–190Google Scholar
  27. Lessios H, Cubit JD, Robertson DR, Shulman M, Parker M, Garrity S, Levings S (1984) Mass mortality of Diadema antillarum on the Caribbean coast of Panama. Coral Reefs 3:173–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Long BG, Poiner IR, Harris AN (1993) Method of estimating the standing stock of Trochus niloticus incorporating LANDSAT satellite data, with application to the Trochus resources of the Bourke Isles, Torres Strait, Australia. Mar. Biol. 115:587–593Google Scholar
  29. Luoto M, Toivonen T, Heikkinen RK (2002) Prediction of total and rare plant species richness in agricultural landscapes from satellite images and topographic data. Landscape Ecol 17:195–217Google Scholar
  30. Macintyre IG, Glynn PW, Steneck RS (2001) A classic Caribbean algal ridge, Holandés Cays, Panama: an algal coated storm deposit, Coral Reefs 20:95–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mumby PJ (2001) Beta and habitat diversity in marine systems: a new approach to measurement, scaling and interpretation. Oecologia 128:274–280Google Scholar
  32. Nagendra H (2001) Using remote sensing to assess biodiversity. Int J Remote Sens 22:2377–2400Google Scholar
  33. Ogden JC, Ogden NB (1993) Coral reefs of the San Blas islands revisited after 20 years. In: Ginsburg RN (ed) Global aspects of coral reefs: health, hazards and history. RSMAS—University of Miami, Miami, pp A35-A40Google Scholar
  34. O’Neill RV, Krummel JR, Gardner RH, Sugihara G, Jackson B, DeAngelis D, Milne BT, Turner MG, Zygmunt B, Christensen SW, Dale VH, Graham RL (1988) Indices of landscape pattern. Landscape Ecol 1:153–162 Google Scholar
  35. Porter JW (1974) Community structure of coral reefs on opposite sides of the Isthmus of Panama. Science 186Google Scholar
  36. Shulman M, Robertson DR (1996) Changes in the coral reefs of San Blas, Caribbean Panama. Coral Reefs 15:231–236Google Scholar
  37. Spalding MD, Ravilious C, Green EP (2001) World atlas of coral reefs. University of California Press, Berkeley, p 424Google Scholar
  38. Stohlgren TJ, Coughenour MB, Chong GW, Binkley D, Kalkhan MA, Schell LD, Buckley DJ, Berry JK (1997) Landscape analysis of plant diversity. Landscape Ecol 12:155–170Google Scholar
  39. Stoms DM, Estes JE (1993) A remote sensing research agenda for mapping and monitoring biodiversity. Int J Remote Sens 14:1839–1860Google Scholar
  40. Suzuki H, Matsakis P, Andréfouët S, Desachy J (2001) Satellite image classification using expert structural knowledge: a method based on fuzzy partition computation and simulated annealing. In: Proceedings of the annual conference of international association for mathematical geology, Cancun, Mexico, CDROMGoogle Scholar
  41. Turner W, Spector S, Gardiner N, Fladeland M, Sterling E, Steininger M (2003) Remote science for biodiversity science and conservation. Trends in Ecol Evol 18:306–314Google Scholar
  42. Van Soest RWM (1984) Marine sponges from Curaçao and other Caribbean localities. Part III. Poecilosclerida. Studies Fauna Curaçao Caribbean Islands 199:1–167Google Scholar
  43. Wagner HH, Edwards PJ (2001) Quantifying habitat specificity to assess the contribution of a patch to species richness at a landscape scale. Landscape Ecol 16:121–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ward TJ, Vanderklift MA, Nicholls AO, Kenchington RA (1999) Selecting marine reserves using habitats and species assemblages as surrogates for biological diversity. Ecol Appl 9:691–698Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Marine Remote SensingUniversity of South Florida—College of Marine ScienceSt PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteUSA
  3. 3.UR Coreus—Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)Nouméa cedexNew Caledonia

Personalised recommendations