Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Title

Development of a Reef Fish Biological Condition Gradient Model With Quantitative Decision Rules for the Protection and Restoration of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2020

Publication Title

Marine Pollution Bulletin

Keywords

Biological attributes, Biocriteria, Thresholds, Sustainability

ISSN

0025-326X

Volume

159

First Page

111387

Abstract

Coral reef ecosystems are declining due to multiple interacting stressors. A bioassessment framework focused on stressor-response associations was developed to help organize and communicate complex ecological information to support coral reef conservation. This study applied the Biological Condition Gradient (BCG), initially developed for freshwater ecosystems, to fish assemblages of U.S. Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. The reef fish BCG describes how biological conditions changed incrementally along a gradient of increasing anthropogenic stress. Coupled with physical and chemical water quality data, the BGC forms a scientifically defensible basis to prioritize, protect and restore water bodies containing coral reefs. Through an iterative process, scientists from across the U.S. Caribbean used fishery-independent survey data and expert knowledge to develop quantitative decision rules to describe six levels of coral reef ecosystem condition. The resultant reef fish BCG provides an effective tool for identifying healthy and degraded coral reef ecosystems and has potential for global application.

Comments

©2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Additional Comments

US EP contract #s: EP-C-09-001 Work Assignment #3-01, EP-C-14-016 Work Assignment 1-1

ORCID ID

0000-0001-8385-7066

DOI

10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111387

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