Abundance of coral-associated fauna in relation to depth and eutrophication along the leeward side of Curaçao, southern Caribbean

Roeland J. van der Schoot, Bert W. Hoeksema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Coral-associated invertebrates contribute much to the biodiversity of Caribbean coral reefs. Although the nature of their symbiotic relation is usually not fully understood, they can cause damage to their hosts, especially when they occur in high densities. The abundance of seven groups of coral-associated invertebrates was investigated on reefs along the leeward side of Curaçao, southern Caribbean. In particular, coral barnacles (Pyrgomatidae), boring mussels (Mytilidae: Leiosolenus spp.), gall crabs (Cryptochiridae), and Christmas tree worms (Serpulidae: Spirobranchus spp.) were recorded together with their host corals by means of a photo survey at four depths (5, 10, 15, 20 m) and across seven sites with high and five sites with low eutrophication values (based on δ15N isotope data). Feather duster worms (Sabellidae: Anamobaea), coral blennies (Chaenopsidae: Acanthemblemaria), and worm snails (Vermetidae: Petaloconchus) were insufficiently abundant for thorough quantitative analyses. The results show a decrease in the number of barnacles and Christmas tree worms per host over depth, which could be related to the availability of their host corals. Sites with high δ15N values show a higher abundance of barnacles and Christmas tree worms per host than sites with low values. This indicates that eutrophication could be favourable for these filter feeding organisms but when their densities become too high, they tend to overgrow their hosts and may become a threat to them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105738
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Volume181
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2022

Cite this