Carrie Bow Cay, Belize

Koltes, Karen H. and Tschirky, John J. and Feller, Ilka C. Carrie Bow Cay, Belize. [Other peer-reviewed publication]

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    Abstract

    Carrie Bow Cay is located 18 km offshore in the central province of the Belize Barrier Reef complex. Although the reef-seagrass-mangrove complex near Carrie Bow Cay is representative of the entire barrier reef complex, the central province contains the most spectacular reef development. The climate in this region is subtropical, with a wet season from June to October. The present-day barrier reef seaward of Carrie Bow Cay is characterized by distinctive zones, with biological and geological development controlled primarily by water movement and depth. Coral cover along the CARICOMP transects is currently in the range of about 12-20%, down from an estimated 30-35% in the 1970s. The decline in coral cover appears to have resulted from die-off of Acropora cervicornis, one of the dominant hard corals in the 1970s, and an accompanying increase in macroalgae. The seagrass community is dominated by Thalassia testudinum, with an estimated total biomass at the CARICOMP sites varying seasonally from approximately 3,766 to 4,159 g m-2 dry weight, among the highest reported for the Caribbean. The mangrove community is dominated by Rhizophora mangle L., which forms a monospecific fringe around the peripheries of the islands. In 1995, widespread bleaching was reported in Belize for the first time. At Carrie Bow Cay, bleaching was preceded by unusually calm water conditions, high light transmittance, and high sea surface temperatures. Although the area in the vicinity of Carrie Bow Cay is generally considered pristine at present, increasing pressure from development and the rapidly expanding tourism industry pose significant threats.

    Item Type: Other peer-reviewed publication
    Related URLs:
    Publisher: Smithsonian Institute
    Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AF) Invertebrates > (AFB) Marine
    (A) Biodiversity > (AH) Plants
    (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBA) Coral Reefs
    (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBE) Mangroves
    (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBH) Seagrasses
    Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3B) NGOs
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2010 10:38
    Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:50
    URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1

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