Boletín de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras - INVEMAR
Print version ISSN 0122-9761
GARZON-FERREIRA, Jaime and REYES-NIVIA, María Catalina. INCIDENCE OF FISH PREDATION ON STONY CORALS AT FOUR ATOLIS OF THE ARCHIPELAGO OF SAN ANDRES AND PROVIDENCIA (COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN). bol. invemar [online]. 2001, vol.30, n.1, pp. 133-150. ISSN 0122-9761.
Based on data recorded in 1994 and 1995 during a baseline study carried out at four western Caribbean atolls (Albuquerque, Courtown, Roncador and Serrana) of the San Andrés and Providencia archipelago, the incidence of hard coral predation by fishes and its relation with the abundance of the parrotfishes Sparisoma viride and Scarus vetula was analyzed. Among affected corals, Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata showed the highest incidence of fish bites (29.5% and 18.7% respectively). There were no significant differences between the atolls on the incidence of coral predation by fishes (Kruskall-Wallis, p = 0.07). When comparing between geomorphologic units the lagoon showed the highest level of predation (14.3%), and also the largest populations of S. viride and S. vetula, but both parameters were not significantly related. Highest predatory incidence and parrotfish abundance in the lagoon could be related to the dominance of the Montastraea spp. complex in this environment, because these coral species have been recognized as the preferred grazing substrates for the two parrotfishes. The predatory activity by the parrotfishes probably has contributed to the general degradation process of the coral reefs in the atolls, when combined with the other agents of stress.
Keywords : stony corals; fish predation; San Andrés; southwestern caribbean.