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Twenty Years of Disturbance and Change in Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa

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Title:Twenty Years of Disturbance and Change in Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa
Authors:Green, A.L.
Birkeland, C.E.
Randall, R.H.
Date Issued:Oct 1999
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Green AL, Birkeland CE, Randall RH. 1999. Twenty years of disturbance and change in Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa. Pac Sci 53(4): 376-400.
Abstract:Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary contains a moderately
diverse coral reef community (150 coral species, 259 fish species) that is protected
from most human activities. The coral community was devastated by a
crown-of-thorns starfish invasion in 1979 and has recently been affected by two
major hurricanes (1990 and 1991) and a period of unusually high water temperature
(1994). Long-term monitoring of the sanctuary allows for description of
the effects of these disturbances in the absence of anthropogenic processes. The
crown-of-thorns damaged deeper portions of the coral communities most severely,
whereas the hurricanes and warm water affected shallower portions to
a greater degree. Soon after these disturbances, corals started recruiting abundantly
and the reefs began to recover. This is in contrast to some other areas in
American Samoa, where chronic anthropogenic effects seem to have inhibited
coral recruitment and reef recovery. Fish communities were affected by the habitat
degradation associated with the crown-of-thorns outbreak, but have remained
relatively unchanged ever since.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 53, Number 4, 1999

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