Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Status of the Reefs in the Cayman Islands

Event Name/Location

9th International Coral Reef Symposium, Bali, Indonesia, October 23-27, 2000

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



As with many of the reefs in the Caribbean, the reefs in the Caymans have been under continuous natural and anthropogenic stresses (80% of the corals on the walls were bleached in 1998). In June, 1999 the reefs around Little Cayman and Grand Cayman Islands were assessed using the AGRRA protocol at 33 sites. A total of 4521 corals in 330 transects, 1807 algal quadrats, and 341 fish transects were measured. Assessment and habitat data are presented in a GIS. The coral reefs of the two Cayman Islands appear to be in similar good condition but there are some differences. Differences include higher frequency and average cover of macroalgae and higher incidence of coral diseases on Little Cayman. Algal competition does not appear to be a problem for corals at most sites. Thirteen (87%) of the sites on Grand Cayman had standing dead coral and only 4 sites (22%) on Little Cayman. Recent coral mortality was twice as high on Grand Cayman as on Little Cayman (5.0% vs 2.1%). Coral recruitment was patchy, but present, mostly at low levels across the region. Live coral cover averaged 19.8 ± 3.3% on Grand Cayman and 23.2 ± 5.4% on Little Cayman. No old Acropora palmata stands occur, however, low density patchy new growth occurs frequently. The average abundance of fish was greater and the frequency of certain fish, especially grouper and snapper were up to eight times higher on Little Cayman. Grouper spawning aggregations are still harvested in the Cayman Islands.


Poster Session

page 359



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