Volume 72

Grounding Coral Reef Restoration in an Experimental Ecology Framework: A Case Study in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

Croquer, A; M. Vilalpando; J. Pollock; X. Escobar- Fadul; Y. Reyes-Santana; A. Luis Baez
Download PDF Open PDF in Browser

Other Information

Date: November, 2019

Pages: 349

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

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Coral reefs are undergoing rapid changes because of a combination of local and global stressors. In the Caribbean, populations of reef-building corals are declining at unprecedented rates, underscoring the need for urgent action to preserve these ecosystems. Coral restoration has gained a great deal of attention as a strategy to help corals and coral reefs to withstand increasing disturbances. While coral reef restoration science has improved in past decades, strong experimental design and monitoring plans are key to assess success and upscale restoration efforts. Experimental ecology has played an important role in restoration programs in many terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Herein, we propose an experimental framework for coral reef restoration and discuss its advantages/disadvantages using a reef section located at Bayahibe as study case. A mixed experimental design which includes fixed and nested factors will be implemented in the Sombrero Reef, Bayahibe, the Dominican Republic. Fixed factors will include plots to be restored (i.e., a set of experimental units impacted and rehabilitated) using sexual and asexual recruits (i.e., micro fragmentation), control plots (i.e., a set of experimental units impacted) and reference plots (i.e., a set of experimental units less impacted where rehabilitation is not necessary). Plots will be monitored for 3 years after establishing a baseline (T0) prior to intervention. The experiment will also measure the potential effects of seasonality over the restoration outcome. The proposed experiment renders seven sources of variation allowing testing if restoration will be effective for a known reef section and whether the outcome varies in space and time. We hope our experience in the Sombrero Reef in Bayahibe will contribute to coral restoration experimental design in the Dominican.

PDF Preview