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Biology and Ecology of the Coral Reefs of the Cayman Islands

  • John R. TurnerEmail author
  • Croy McCoy
  • Matt Cottam
  • Jeremy Olynik
  • Austin Timothy
  • Janice Blumenthal
  • John Bothwell
  • Fred J. Burton
  • Phillippe Bush
  • Paul Chin
  • Oliver Dubock
  • Kristian D. Godbeer
  • James Gibb
  • Lisa Hurlston
  • Bradley J. Johnson
  • Alan Logan
  • Gene Parsons
  • Gina Ebanks-Petrie
Chapter
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 4)

Abstract

The Cayman islands are three small low-lying subtropical islands in the NW Caribbean. The islands are tips of an underwater mountain chain and have a very narrow coastal shelf, usually of less than 1 km wide, which support considerable reef development. The major sublittoral habitats are coral reefs, lagoons, seagrass beds and mangroves, and fringing reefs shelter large areas of seagrasses and mangroves, the latter being important nursery areas also. There is a high diversity of marine invertebrates, with several molluscs and crustaceans providing commercially significant species. However, substantial recent developments have increased pressures on the marine systems, added to which more recently are stressors resulting from climate change. The islands are hit by hurricanes about once every 10 years, and suffer near-misses four times more often, which greatly affects these habitats. There are a number of different categories of Marine Protected Areas but even so, due to a number of direct anthropogenic stressors as well, coral cover has declined from 25 % to about 11 % over the past 15 years. Physical destruction from shipping and recreational boating has contributed significantly to this, as have various forms of pollution, dredging and shoreline construction, and poaching. The Marine Protected Area system is being reviewed, with specific measures to manage Grouper spawning aggregation sites, and a culling programme is underway in an attempt to control the invasive lionfish which pose the most recent threat to the coral reef fish communities.

Keywords

Coral Reef Coral Cover Sandy Beach Green Turtle Beach Ridge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Turner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Croy McCoy
    • 2
  • Matt Cottam
    • 2
  • Jeremy Olynik
    • 2
  • Austin Timothy
    • 2
  • Janice Blumenthal
    • 2
  • John Bothwell
    • 2
  • Fred J. Burton
    • 3
  • Phillippe Bush
    • 2
  • Paul Chin
    • 2
  • Oliver Dubock
    • 2
  • Kristian D. Godbeer
    • 2
  • James Gibb
    • 2
  • Lisa Hurlston
    • 2
  • Bradley J. Johnson
    • 2
  • Alan Logan
    • 4
  • Gene Parsons
    • 2
  • Gina Ebanks-Petrie
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Ocean SciencesBangor UniversityWalesUK
  2. 2.Department of the EnvironmentCayman Islands GovernmentGrand CaymanCayman Islands
  3. 3.National Trust of the Cayman IslandsGrand CaymanCayman Islands
  4. 4.Centre for Coastal StudiesUniversity of New BrunswickSaint JohnCanada

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