Volume 72

Getting to know the coastal-marine biodiversity of a promising area aided by citizen science

Torres-Pineda, P; A. Valdez Trinidad; A. C. Hernández; F. Reyes Polanco
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 373

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The citizen science project held in the platform iNaturalist, called “Biodiversidad de Playa El Derrumbao y Zonas Aledañas” (Biodiversity of El Derrumbao beach and nearby places) gathers an extensive photographic catalog of various species presented in the area of Las Salinas and Las Calderas Bay in Peravia province in the Dominican Republic, with a focus on its marine and coastal fauna. In these late years, this area has taken preponderance as a birdwatching scene and more recently as a diving and snorkeling spot thanks to its proximity to the city and the variety of habitats that can be found, such as mangroves, dunes, coral reefs, coastal lagoons, and salt pans. Despite the importance of these sites, its marine fauna and coastal resources have not been exhaustively studied. This project was created in mid-2017 and has to date more than 300 observations of 141 different species of terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora. More than 80% of the observations are marine or coastal fauna, including marine reptiles, fish, stony and soft corals, mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms and more. Other marine-coastal biodiversity is comprised of plants such as mangroves, macroalgae and seagrasses. More than 75% of the observations are research grade. We have recorded 19 species of stony corals, several of them threatened, such as the ones of the genus Acropora and at least seven species of soft corals, zoanthids and hydrocorals. The fish diversity is rich, we have observed more than 40 species of fish including sharks, rays and reef fishes. This project has had the participation of people not directly related to science and also presents evidence on the fishing practices in the area. We think this can be a promising ecotouristic destination and the location of future scientific research.

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