Bimini Islands: a characterization of the two major nursery areas; status and perspectives

Trave, Claudia, and Sheaves, Marcus (2014) Bimini Islands: a characterization of the two major nursery areas; status and perspectives. SpringerPlus, 3. pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

Bimini Islands (Bahamas, 25°44' N 79°16' W) are characterized by a unique tropical marine environment which provides critical nursery habitats and food resources for many important species of ecological and economical value. Two areas are particularly important in the function and dynamics of the local marine environment: North Sound and South Bimini. Since 1998 the northern part of the island has been subject to an intense urbanization process that involves the construction of an extensive touristic complex. Over the years this activity has radically modified a substantial portion of the land, and part of the underwater environment as well, threatening the fragile balance of the North Sound nursery ground. Effects on marine habitats and on local species have been reported, and although some measures to limit the damage have already been taken, the local ecosystem could ultimately suffer from continuation of the construction work on the area. In 2010, we performed surveys of both main nursery grounds to assess the current ecological status and the main differences between the two areas, investigating macrobenthic epifauna abundance, seagrass density and abiotic parameters. The results of this study indicate that the ecosystem still appears in reasonably healthy condition, although showing some concerning trends. These data provide baseline conditions to assess further changes, and possibly to support the development of plans for the conservation of the North Sound and South Bimini coastal ecosystems.

Item ID: 34515
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Bimini; characterization; benthic survey; nursery ground; coastal tourism; anthropogenic activities; marine habitat; monitoring; seagrass; Thalassia testudinum; Halodule wrightii; macroalgae; urbanization; abiotic; bahamas; coastal development
Additional Information:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.

ISSN: 2193-1801
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 01:29
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
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