Status of Candidate coral, Acropora palmata, and its snail predator in the upper Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 1998-2001
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Status of Candidate coral, Acropora palmata, and its snail predator in the upper Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 1998-2001
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    Population surveys of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and its corallivorous snail predator, Coralliophila abbreviata, were conducted annually in May from 1998 to 2001. At each survey, size and condition of each sampled coral colony was estimated as well as the number and size of its resident snails. A. palmata patches at six sites in the FKNMS were surveyed in all years; three no-take zones and three reference areas. A drastic decline in A. palmata populations was observed between May 1998 and May 1999, coinciding with a severe bleaching event and Hurricane Georges during summer/fall of 1998. All colonies in three patches (out of 10) sampled in 1998 suffered complete mortality by May 1999. Sampling at two sites in October 1998, after Hurricane Georges, confirmed that average sizes of standing colonies and of loose fragments had decreased while the abundance of fragments had increased. The total amount of live A. palmata (as measured by total # of colonies or by total “ιζσδ αοδα ζλγδτ” (πδδ ϟδτϟ)) δτϟαλϟ αϟ ϟϝοδδ πζϟδπ ςϝδοδ αιι ϐμιμλζδπ ςδοδ πακνιδγ γδϐιζλδγ γοαπϟζϐαιιυ εομκ »998 ϟμ »999 αλγ ϝαπ πϝμςλ μλιυ καοϛζλαι οδϐμσδου εομκ »999 ϟμ “««». Ϟϝδ γδλπζϟυ με Α. ναικαϟα αϟ αιι πζϟδπ ϝαπ προδιυ γδϐιζλδγ γροζλϛ ϟϝδ πϟργυ (κμπϟιυ βδϟςδδλ »998 αλγ »999), βρϟ ϟϝδ ξραλϟζϟαϟζσδ δτνοδππζμλ με ϟϝζπ ναοακδϟδο ζπ ϐμκνιζϐαϟδγ βυ ϟϝδ γδϐοδαπδ ζλ αοδαι δτϟδλϟ με πδσδοαι ναϟϐϝδπ αλγ ϟϝδ εοαϛκδλϟζλϛ κμονϝμιμϛυ/ιζεδ ϝζπϟμου με ϟϝδ πνδϐζδπ. Ϟϝδ ασδοαϛδ ϐμλγζϟζμλ με οδκαζλζλϛ Α. ναικαϟα ϐμιμλζδπ (δπϟζκαϟδγ απ ̓με ϐμιμλυ προεαϐδ ςζϟϝ ιζσδ ϟζππρδ) γδϐιζλδγ πιζϛϝϟιυ βρϟ πζϛλζεζϐαλϟιυ εομκ »998-99 βρϟ οδβμρλγδγ βυ “««» ϟμ ϟϝδ »998 ιδσδι με ϡ6«̓. Ϟϝδ ζλϐζγδλϐδ με ςϝζϟδ βαλγ γζπδαπδ (WΒΓ) ζλ ϟϝδπδ Α. ναικαϟα ναϟϐϝδπ ϝαπ βδδλ ϐμλπζπϟδλϟιυ ιμς ϟϝομρϛϝμρϟ ϟϝδ πϟργυ, βδιμς 6 ̓εμο αλυ ϛζσδλ πζϟδ προσδυ ςζϟϝ φδομ ζλϐζγδλϐδ μβπδοσδγ ζλ καλυ πζϟδ προσδυπ. Ϟϝδ ασδοαϛδ ζλϐζγδλϐδ με WΒΓ μβπδοσδγ ζλ “««» ςαπ “ ̓με ϐμιμλζδπ (λ=6 πζϟδπ). Cμοαιιζμνϝζια αββοδσζαϟα πϝμςδγ πμκδςϝαϟ ιδππ γοακαϟζϐ γυλακζϐπ γροζλϛ ϟϝδ πϟργυ νδοζμγ. Ϟϝδ ασδοαϛδ γδλπζϟυ με πλαζιπ μλ Α. ναικαϟα (̈/ Α. ναικαϟα ϐμιμλυ προσδυδγ, λ=6 πζϟδπ) κμοδ ϟϝαλ γμρβιδγ εομκ »998-»999 βρϟ γδϐιζλδγ αϛαζλ βδϟςδδλ “««« αλγ “««». Πζκζιαο γδλπζϟυ ϟοδλγπ ςδοδ μβπδοσδγ βδϟςδδλ λμ-ϟαθδ οδπδοσδ αλγ οδεδοδλϐδ πζϟδπ. Πζϟδπ ςζϟϝ ιμς-γδλπζϟυ Α. ναικαϟα ναϟϐϝδπ (ΙΓ πζϟδπ) ϝαγ ϐμλπζπϟδλϟιυ κμοδ πλαζιπ ϐμιμλυ -» ϟϝαλ πζϟδπ ςζϟϝ ϟϝζϐθδϟπ. Κδαλςϝζιδ, ϟϝδ ασδοαϛδ πζφδ με πλαζιπ μλ αιι ϝμπϟπ (Α. ναικαϟα ϟϝζϐθδϟπ, ΙΓ Α. ναικαϟα, αλγ Κμλϟαπϟοαδα πνν.) γδϐιζλδγ βδϟςδδλ »998 αλγ »999. Βυ “««», ασδοαϛδ πλαζι πζφδ μλ Κμλϟαπϟοαδα πνν. ϝμπϟπ ϝαγ οδπρκδγ »998 ιδσδιπ, βρϟ, μλ Α. ναικαϟα, οδκαζλδγ πκαιιδο ϟϝαλ ϟϝδ ζλζϟζαι προσδυ. Πλαζι πζφδ γζπϟοζβρϟζμλπ αννδαο ϟμ βδ πζϟδ-πνδϐζεζϐ, πμκδςϝαϟ ϐμλεμρλγζλϛ αλαιυπζπ με ϝζϛϝδο-ιδσδι εαϐϟμοπ πρϐϝ απ πϟαλγ πϟορϐϟροδ μο καλαϛδκδλϟ πϐϝδκδ.
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