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Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary: Connectivity
Filetype[PDF-1.31 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary: Connectivity; Bibliography
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  • Description:
    Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) protects 22 square miles of ocean off the coast of Sapelo Island, Georgia. The vibrant live bottom reef provides habitat for hundreds of ecologically and economically important species. Given the relatively small size of the sanctuary, its biological community is likely dependent on the site’s ecological connectivity (the exchange of organisms among populations and locations) to other locations. It is also likely that the sanctuary provides a source of organisms to other areas in the region, making it an important part of the larger ecosystem.

    Given the importance of connectivity to GRNMS, the 2014 GRNMS Management Plan outlined an objective to evaluate potential areas outside GRNMS that may have connectivity with GRNMS and may benefit from increased protection. The first step in evaluating this connectivity is to review and synthesize existing knowledge related to ecological connectivity at Gray's Reef in terms of physical oceanographic processes, phyto- and zooplankton distribution, Sargassum, eggs and larvae of invertebrates and fish, reef and demersal fish species, highly migratory species (including coastal sharks, tuna, and billfish), reptiles, and marine mammals. Thus, this annotated bibliography serves as an important supplement to previous reviews on this subject and a vital contribution to the analysis of ecological connectivity at GRNMS.

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