Coral community structure at pooled random sites between Cabritte Horn and White Point in St. John before and after five hurricanes from 1988–2017

Alternative Title
Date Created
2018-11-28
Location
USVI
westlimit: -64.723; southlimit: 18.32; eastlimit: -64.723; northlimit: 18.32
DOI
10.1575/1912/bco-dmo.750092.1
Replaced By
Keywords
Coral
Caribbean
Coral reef
LTREB
Hurricanes
Abstract
These files contain data that support an analysis of the effects of two major hurricanes on coral reefs that have been extensively studied for more than three decades. Major tropical storms are destructive phenomena with large effects on the community dynamics of multiple biomes. On coral reefs, their impacts have been described for decades, leading to the expectation that future storms should have effects similar to those recorded in the past. This expectation relies on the assumption that storm intensities will remain unchanged, and the impacted coral reef communities are similar to those of the recent past; neither assumption is correct. These data support a study quantifying the effects of two category five hurricanes on the reefs of St. John, US Virgin Islands, where 31 y of time-series analyses reveal chronic coral mortality, increasing macroalgal abundance, and five major hurricanes that caused acute coral mortality. Contextualized by these trends, the effects of the most recent storms, Hurricanes Irma and Maria (September 2017), on coral cover were modest. While mean absolute coral cover declined 1–4% depending on site, these effects were not statistically discernable. Following decades of increasing abundance of macroalgae, this functional group responded to the recent hurricanes with large increases in abundance on both absolute and relative scales. Decades of chronic mortality have changed the coral assemblages of St. John to create degraded communities that are resistant to severe storms. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/750092
Description
Dataset: pooled random sites (PRS)
Embargo Date
Citation
Edmunds, P. (2018). Coral community structure at pooled random sites between Cabritte Horn and White Point in St. John before and after five hurricanes from 1988-2017. Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office. https://doi.org/10.1575/1912/bco-dmo.750092.1
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Creative Commons Attribution 4.0