I am a marine bio-geochemist with research interests in the role marginal reef environments (e.g. mangrove habitats) can play in understanding the impact of future climate change on coral reefs. I am currently exploring differences in the microbial communities of corals found in these extreme systems and how they influence the coral holobiont. Another area of research interest is the role that Symbiodinium sp. diversity plays in the functional operation and stability of the coral symbiosis.
I currently work as a post-doctorate research associate at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. At UTS I am a member of the Climate Change Cluster (C3) working with Associate Professor David Suggett in the Future Reefs Research Program.
For my latest work please check out: www.emmafcamp.com
I am also a United Nations Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This honorary position undertaken in September 2018 will last for two years and will see me work with the UN to advocate for #Youth2030 and the SDGs.
Over the past four years I have been involved as a coral reef researcher with Earthwatch and Operation Wallacea and am an ambassador for global biodiversity for the charity IBEX earth. I have been awarded grants from National Geographic and the Waitt Foundation, the Women's Diving Hall of Fame, and an Endeavour Fellowship from the Australian Department of Education and Training to continue my work researching corals in extreme and marginal reef environments. I am a member of several professional organisations, such as the Royal Geographic Society, EDGE of Existence and British Ecological Society.
Can supervise: YES
Role of non-reef habitats to act as model study sites for climate change research: Exploration of seagrass and mangrove habitats that house coral populations to uncover how corals can persist under conditions predicted over the next 50-100 years under climate change.
Photosynthetic traits as “key performance indicators” of coral health: Gain mechanistic insight into the functional diversity of traits describing Symbiodinium photosynthetic performance, which serves as the key physiological bottleneck governing the metabolic function, growth, and stress sensitivity of their coral hosts
Mechanisms that support marine biodiversity: Using clownfish as a model organism, explore how cohabitation and other mechanisms can support biodiversity.
The role of conservation education in marine management: The application of conservation education within the SCUBA diving community to minimise impact on the underwater environment.
Environmental Chemistry (65621)
Suggett, DJ, Camp, EF, Edmondson, J, Boström-Einarsson, L, Ramler, V, Lohr, K & Patterson, JT 2019, 'Optimizing return-on-effort for coral nursery and outplanting practices to aid restoration of the Great Barrier Reef', Restoration Ecology.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 Society for Ecological Restoration Coral nursery and outplanting practices have grown in popularity worldwide for targeted restoration of degraded 'high value' reef sites, and recovery of threatened taxa. Success of these practices is commonly gauged from coral propagule growth and survival, which fundamentally determines the return-on-effort (RRE) critical to the cost-effectiveness and viability of restoration programs. In many cases, RRE has been optimized from past successes and failures, which therefore presents a major challenge for locations such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) where no local history of restoration exists to guide best practice. In establishing the first multi-taxa coral nursery on the GBR (Opal Reef, February 2018), we constructed a novel scoring criterion from concurrent measurements of growth and survivorship to guide our relative RRE, including nursery propagule numbers (stock density). We initially retrieved RRE scores from a database of global restoration efforts to date (n = 246; 52 studies) to evaluate whether and how success commonly varied among coral taxa. We then retrieved RRE scores for Opal Reef using initial growth and survivorship data for six key coral taxa, to demonstrate that RRE scores were high for all taxa predominantly via high survivorship over winter. Repeated RRE scoring in summer is therefore needed to capture the full dynamic range of success where seasonal factors regulating growth versus survivorship differ. We discuss how RRE scoring can be easily adopted across restoration practices globally to standardize and benchmark success, but also as a tool to aid decision-making in optimizing future propagation (and outplanting) efforts.
Gardner, SG, Camp, EF, Smith, DJ, Kahlke, T, Osman, EO, Gendron, G, Hume, BCC, Pogoreutz, C, Voolstra, CR & Suggett, DJ 2019, 'Coral microbiome diversity reflects mass coral bleaching susceptibility during the 2016 El Niño heat wave.', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 938-956.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Repeat marine heat wave-induced mass coral bleaching has decimated reefs in Seychelles for 35 years, but how coral-associated microbial diversity (microalgal endosymbionts of the family Symbiodiniaceae and bacterial communities) potentially underpins broad-scale bleaching dynamics remains unknown. We assessed microbiome composition during the 2016 heat wave peak at two contrasting reef sites (clear vs. turbid) in Seychelles, for key coral species considered bleaching sensitive (Acropora muricata, Acropora gemmifera) or tolerant (Porites lutea, Coelastrea aspera). For all species and sites, we sampled bleached versus unbleached colonies to examine how microbiomes align with heat stress susceptibility. Over 30% of all corals bleached in 2016, half of which were from Acropora sp. and Pocillopora sp. mass bleaching that largely transitioned to mortality by 2017. Symbiodiniaceae ITS2-sequencing revealed that the two Acropora sp. and P. lutea generally associated with C3z/C3 and C15 types, respectively, whereas C. aspera exhibited a plastic association with multiple D types and two C3z types. 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that bacterial communities were coral host-specific, largely through differences in the most abundant families, Hahellaceae (comprising Endozoicomonas), Rhodospirillaceae, and Rhodobacteraceae. Both Acropora sp. exhibited lower bacterial diversity, species richness, and community evenness compared to more bleaching-resistant P. lutea and C. aspera. Different bleaching susceptibility among coral species was thus consistent with distinct microbiome community profiles. These profiles were conserved across bleached and unbleached colonies of all coral species. As this pattern could also reflect a parallel response of the microbiome to environmental changes, the detailed functional associations will need to be determined in future studies. Further understanding such microbiome-environmental interactions is likely critical to target more effective manag...
Camp, EF, Schoepf, V, Mumby, PJ, Hardtke, LA, Rodolfo-Metalpa, R, Smith, DJ & Suggett, DJ 2018, 'The future of coral reefs subject to rapid climate change: Lessons from natural extreme environments', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 5, no. FEB.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 Camp, Schoepf, Mumby, Hardtke, Rodolfo-Metalpa, Smith and Suggett. Global climate change and localized anthropogenic stressors are driving rapid declines in coral reef health. In vitro experiments have been fundamental in providing insight into how reef organisms will potentially respond to future climates. However, such experiments are inevitably limited in their ability to reproduce the complex interactions that govern reef systems. Studies examining coral communities that already persist under naturally-occurring extreme and marginal physicochemical conditions have therefore become increasingly popular to advance ecosystem scale predictions of future reef form and function, although no single site provides a perfect analog to future reefs. Here we review the current state of knowledge that exists on the distribution of corals in marginal and extreme environments, and geographic sites at the latitudinal extremes of reef growth, as well as a variety of shallow reef systems and reef-neighboring environments (including upwelling and CO2vent sites). We also conduct a synthesis of the abiotic data that have been collected at these systems, to provide the first collective assessment on the range of extreme conditions under which corals currently persist. We use the review and data synthesis to increase our understanding of the biological and ecological mechanisms that facilitate survival and success under sub-optimal physicochemical conditions. This comprehensive assessment can begin to: (i) highlight the extent of extreme abiotic scenarios under which corals can persist, (ii) explore whether there are commonalities in coral taxa able to persist in such extremes, (iii) provide evidence for key mechanisms required to support survival and/or persistence under sub-optimal environmental conditions, and (iv) evaluate the potential of current sub-optimal coral environments to act as potential refugia under changing environmental conditions. Such a collective approac...
Camp, EF, Schoepf, V & Suggett, DJ 2018, 'How can "Super Corals" facilitate global coral reef survival under rapid environmental and climatic change?', Global change biology, vol. 24, no. 7, pp. 2755-2757.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Coral reefs are in a state of rapid global decline via environmental and climate change, and efforts have intensified to identify or engineer coral populations with increased resilience. Concurrent with these efforts has been increasing use of the popularized term "Super Coral" in both popular media and scientific literature without a unifying definition. However, how this subjective term is currently applied has the potential to mislead inference over factors contributing to coral survivorship, and the future trajectory of coral reef form and functioning. Here, we discuss that the information required to support a single definition does not exist, and in fact may never be appropriate, i.e. "How Super is Super"? Instead, we advocate caution of this term, and suggest a workflow that enables contextualization and clarification of superiority to ensure that inferred or asserted survivorship is appropriate into future reef projections. This is crucial to robustly unlock how "Super Corals" can be integrated into the suite of management options required to facilitate coral survival under rapid environmental and climate change.
Camp, EF, Schoepf, V, Mumby, PJ & Suggett, DJ 2018, 'Editorial: The future of coral reefs subject to rapid climate change: Lessons from natural extreme environments', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 5, no. NOV.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Nitschke, MR, Gardner, SG, Goyen, S, Fujise, L, Camp, EF, Ralph, PJ & Suggett, DJ 2018, 'Utility of photochemical traits as diagnostics of thermal tolerance amongst great barrier reef corals', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 5, no. FEB.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 Nitschke, Gardner, Goyen, Fujise, Camp, Ralph and Suggett. Light availability is considered a key factor regulating the thermal sensitivity of reef building corals, where excessive excitation of photosystem II (PSII) further exacerbates pressure on photochemical pathways already compromised by heat stress. Coral symbionts acclimate to changes in light availability (photoacclimation) by continually fine-tuning the photochemical operating efficiency of PSII. However, how this process adjusts throughout the warmest months in naturally heat-tolerant or sensitive species is unknown, and whether this influences the capacity to tolerate transient heat stress is untested. We therefore examined the PSII photophysiology of 10 coral species (with known thermal tolerances) from shallow reef environments at Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia), in spring (October-November, 2015) vs. summer (February-March, 2016). Corals were maintained in flow-through aquaria and rapid light curve (RLC) protocols using pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry captured changes in the PSII photoacclimation strategy, characterized as the minimum saturating irradiance (Ek), and the extent of photochemical ([1-C], operating efficiency) vs. non-photochemical ([1-Q]) energy dissipation. Values of Ekacross species were > 2-fold higher in all coral species in spring, consistent with a climate of higher overall light exposure (i.e., higher PAR from lower cloud cover, rainfall and wind speed) compared with summer. Summer decreases in Ekwere combined with a shift toward preferential photochemical quenching in all species. All coral species were subsequently subjected to thermal stress assays. An equivalent temperature-ramping profile of 1°C increase per day and then maintenance at 32°C was applied in each season. Despite the significant seasonal photoacclimation, the species hierarchy of thermal tolerance [maximum quantum yields of PSII (Fv/Fm), monitored at dawn and dusk] did not shift...
Camp, EF, Dong, LF, Suggett, DJ, Smith, DJ, Boatman, TG, Crosswell, JR, Evenhuis, C, Scorfield, S, Walinjkar, A, Woods, J & Lawson, T 2017, 'A novel membrane inlet-infrared gas analysis (MI-IRGA) system for monitoring of seawater carbonate system', Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 38-53.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2016 The Authors Limnology and Oceanography: Methods published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Increased atmospheric CO 2 concentrations are driving changes in ocean chemistry at unprecedented rates resulting in ocean acidification, which is predicted to impact the functioning of marine biota, in particular of marine calcifiers. However, the precise understanding of such impacts relies on an analytical system that determines the mechanisms and impact of elevated pCO 2 on the physiology of organisms at scales from species to entire communities. Recent work has highlighted the need within experiments to control all aspects of the carbonate system to resolve the role of different inorganic carbon species on the physiological responses observed across taxa in real-time. Presently however, there are limited options available for continuous quantification of physiological responses, coupled with real-time calculation of the seawater carbonate chemistry system within microcosm environments. Here, we describe and characterise the performance of a novel pCO 2 membrane equilibrium system (the Membrane Inlet Infra-Red Gas Analyser, MI-IRGA) integrated with a continuous pH and oxygen monitoring platform. The system can detect changes in the seawater carbonate chemistry and determine organism physiological responses, while providing the user with real-time control over the microcosm system. We evaluate the systems control, response time and associated error, and demonstrate the flexibility of the system to operate under field conditions and within a laboratory. We use the system to measure physiological parameters (photosynthesis and respiration) for the corals Pocillipora damicornis and Porites cylindrica; in doing so we present a novel dataset examining the interactive role of temperature, light and pCO 2 on the physiology of P. cylindrica.
Ainsworth, TD, Fordyce, AJ & Camp, EF 2017, 'The Other Microeukaryotes of the Coral Reef Microbiome.', Trends in Microbiology, vol. 25, no. 12, pp. 980-991.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In marine ecosystems microbial communities are critical to ocean function, global primary productivity, and biogeochemical cycles. Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes are essential symbionts and mutualists, nonpathogenic invaders, primary pathogens, have been linked to disease emergence, and can underpin broader ecosystem changes. However, in the effort to determine coral-microbial interactions, the structure and function of the eukaryotic microbes of the microbiome have been studied less. Eukaryotic microbes are important members of the microbiome, constitute entire kingdoms of life, and make important contributions to ecosystem function. Here, we outline the roles of eukaryotic microbes in marine systems and their contribution to ecosystem change, and discuss the microeukaryotic microbiome of corals and coral reefs.
© 2017 Fordyce AJ et al. Polyp bailout is an established but understudied coral stress response that involves the detachment of individual polyps from the colonial form as a means of escaping unfavourable conditions. This may influence both the mortality and asexual recruitment of coral genotypes across a range of species. It has been observed in response to numerous stressors including high salinity and low pH. Polyp expulsion in association with thermal stress has once been described in a geographically restricted, temperate species. We therefore cannot reliably apply this observation to tropical coral reefs around the world, which are increasingly under threat from thermal stress events. We present the first qualitative observation of polyp bailout following acute temperature shock in a near-natural mesocosm experiment. Detached polyps show similar characteristics to those described in previous studies, including the retention of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae and the ability to disperse across short distances. This finding strongly suggests that polyp bailout occurs in tropical coral reef environments and warrants further detailed research into the implication of this response in terms of individual survival, rapid migration into cooler micro-habitats and local recruitment within the reef environment and its coral community.
Camp, EF, Nitschke, MR, Rodolfo-Metalpa, R, Houlbreque, F, Gardner, SG, Smith, DJ, Zampighi, M & Suggett, DJ 2017, 'Reef-building corals thrive within hot-acidified and deoxygenated waters.', Scientific reports, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 2434-2434.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Coral reefs are deteriorating under climate change as oceans continue to warm and acidify and thermal anomalies grow in frequency and intensity. In vitro experiments are widely used to forecast reef-building coral health into the future, but often fail to account for the complex ecological and biogeochemical interactions that govern reefs. Consequently, observations from coral communities under naturally occurring extremes have become central for improved predictions of future reef form and function. Here, we present a semi-enclosed lagoon system in New Caledonia characterised by diel fluctuations of hot-deoxygenated water coupled with tidally driven persistently low pH, relative to neighbouring reefs. Coral communities within the lagoon system exhibited high richness (number of species=20) and cover (24-35% across lagoon sites). Calcification rates for key species (Acropora formosa, Acropora pulchra, Coelastrea aspera and Porites lutea) for populations from the lagoon were equivalent to, or reduced by ca. 30-40% compared to those from the reef. Enhanced coral respiration, alongside high particulate organic content of the lagoon sediment, suggests acclimatisation to this trio of temperature, oxygen and pH changes through heterotrophic plasticity. This semi-enclosed lagoon therefore provides a novel system to understand coral acclimatisation to complex climatic scenarios and may serve as a reservoir of coral populations already resistant to extreme environmental conditions.
Lohr, KE, Smith, DJ, Suggett, DJ, Nitschke, MR, Dumbrell, AJ, Woodcock, S & Camp, EF 2017, 'Coral Community Structure and Recruitment in Seagrass Meadows', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 4, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Camp, EF, Smith, DJ, Evenhuis, C, Enochs, I, Manzello, D, Woodcock, S & Suggett, DJ 2016, 'Acclimatization to high-variance habitats does not enhance physiological tolerance of two key Caribbean corals to future temperature and pH.', Proceedings. Biological sciences, vol. 283, no. 1831.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Corals are acclimatized to populate dynamic habitats that neighbour coral reefs. Habitats such as seagrass beds exhibit broad diel changes in temperature and pH that routinely expose corals to conditions predicted for reefs over the next 50-100 years. However, whether such acclimatization effectively enhances physiological tolerance to, and hence provides refuge against, future climate scenarios remains unknown. Also, whether corals living in low-variance habitats can tolerate present-day high-variance conditions remains untested. We experimentally examined how pH and temperature predicted for the year 2100 affects the growth and physiology of two dominant Caribbean corals (Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides) native to habitats with intrinsically low (outer-reef terrace, LV) and/or high (neighbouring seagrass, HV) environmental variance. Under present-day temperature and pH, growth and metabolic rates (calcification, respiration and photosynthesis) were unchanged for HV versus LV populations. Superimposing future climate scenarios onto the HV and LV conditions did not result in any enhanced tolerance to colonies native to HV. Calcification rates were always lower for elevated temperature and/or reduced pH. Together, these results suggest that seagrass habitats may not serve as refugia against climate change if the magnitude of future temperature and pH changes is equivalent to neighbouring reef habitats.
Camp, EF, Suggett, DJ, Gendron, G, Jompa, J, Manfrino, C & Smith, DJ 2016, 'Mangrove and Seagrass Beds Provide Different Biogeochemical Services for Corals Threatened by Climate Change', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 3, pp. 1-16.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are driving acidification in parallel with
warming of the oceans. Future ocean acidification scenarios have the potential to impact
coral growth and associated reef function, although reports suggest such affects could
be reduced in adjacent seagrass habitats as a result of physio-chemical buffering.
To-date, it remains unknown whether these habitats can actually support the metabolic
function of a diverse range of corals. Similarly, whether mangroves provide the same
ecological buffering service remains unclear. We examine whether reef-associated habitat
sites (seagrass and mangroves) can act as potential refugia to future climate change
by maintaining favorable chemical conditions (elevated pH and aragonite saturation
state relative to the open-ocean), but by also assessing whether the metabolic function
(photosynthesis, respiration and calcification) of important reef-building corals are
sustained. We investigated three sites in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and
consistently observed that seagrass beds experience an overall elevation in mean pH
(8.15 ± 0.01) relative to the adjacent outer-reef (8.12 ± 0.03), but with periods of high
and low pH. Corals in the seagrass habitats either sustained calcification or experienced
an average reduction of 17.0 ± 6.1% relative to the outer-reef. In contrast, mangrove
habitats were characterized by a low mean pH (8.04 ± 0.01) and a relatively moderate
pH range. Corals within mangrove-dominated habitats were thus pre-conditioned to low
pH but with significant suppression to calcification (70.0 ± 7.3% reduction relative to the
outer-reef). Both habitats also experienced more variable temperatures (diel range up to
2.5C) relative to the outer-reef (diel range less than 0.7C), which did not correspond with
changes in calcification rates. Here we report, for the first time, the biological costs for
corals living in reef-associated habitats and characterize the environme...
de Brauwer, M, Camp, E, Jompa, J & Smith, DJ 2016, 'High levels of heterospecific cohabitation among anemonefishes in Hoga Island, Indonesia', Marine Biodiversity, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 19-20.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Anemonefishes have an obligate association with host sea anemones and normally occur in conspecific groups. Occasionally, heterospecific social groups are observed (Fautin and Allen 1997). Here, we report the highest documented frequency of heterospecific cohabitation in the world. Observations on coral reefs around Hoga Island (Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia) were conducted on the reef crest and slope habitats (3–15 m depth) during July and August 2014, and cohabitation was recorded in the sea anemones Entacmaea quadricolor, Heteractis crispa and Stichodactyla mertensii. Surveys revealed that 55 out of 106 surveyed sea anemones (52 %) were occupied by more than one species of anenomefish; all other observed sea anemones were occupied by only one. The following combinations of anemonefishes were observed: Amphiprion clarkii (adult)—Premnas biaculeatus (juvenile) (1.8 %), A. melanopus (ad.)—P. biaculeatus (juv.) (3.6 %), A. perideraion (ad.)—A. clarkii (juv.) (7.3 %), A. clarkii (ad.)—A. perideraion (juv.) (85.5 %), A. sandaracinos (ad.)—A. clarkii (juv.) (1.8 %) (Fig. 1).
Camp, EF, Hobbs, J-PA, De Brauwer, M, Dumbrell, AJ & Smith, DJ 2016, 'Cohabitation promotes high diversity of clownfishes in the Coral Triangle.', Proceedings. Biological sciences, vol. 283, no. 1827, p. 20160277.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Global marine biodiversity peaks within the Coral Triangle, and understanding how such high diversity is maintained is a central question in marine ecology. We investigated broad-scale patterns in the diversity of clownfishes and their host sea anemones by conducting 981 belt-transects at 20 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific. Of the 1508 clownfishes encountered, 377 fish occurred in interspecific cohabiting groups and cohabitation was almost entirely restricted to the Coral Triangle. Neither the diversity nor density of host anemone or clownfish species alone influenced rates of interspecific cohabitation. Rather cohabitation occurred in areas where the number of clownfish species exceeds the number of host anemone species. In the Coral Triangle, cohabiting individuals were observed to finely partition their host anemone, with the subordinate species inhabiting the periphery. Furthermore, aggression did not increase in interspecific cohabiting groups, instead dominant species were accepting of subordinate species. Various combinations of clownfish species were observed cohabiting (independent of body size, phylogenetic relatedness, evolutionary age, dentition, level of specialization) in a range of anemone species, thereby ensuring that each clownfish species had dominant reproductive individuals in some cohabiting groups. Clownfishes are obligate commensals, thus cohabitation is an important process in maintaining biodiversity in high diversity systems because it supports the persistence of many species when host availability is limiting. Cohabitation is a likely explanation for high species richness in other obligate commensals within the Coral Triangle, and highlights the importance of protecting these habitats in order to conserve unique marine biodiversity.
Camp, EF, Krause, SL, Santos, LMF, Naumann, MS, Kikuchi, RKP, Smith, DJ, Wild, C & Suggett, DJ 2015, 'The 'Flexi-Chamber': A Novel Cost-Effective In Situ Respirometry Chamber for Coral Physiological Measurements', PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 10, pp. 1-21.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Manfrino, C, Jacoby, CA, Camp, E & Frazer, TK 2013, 'A positive trajectory for corals at Little Cayman Island.', PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 10, pp. e75432-e75432.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Coral reefs are damaged by natural disturbances and local and global anthropogenic stresses. As stresses intensify, so do debates about whether reefs will recover after significant damage. True headway in this debate requires documented temporal trajectories for coral assemblages subjected to various combinations of stresses; therefore, we report relevant changes in coral assemblages at Little Cayman Island. Between 1999 and 2012, spatiotemporal patterns in cover, densities of juveniles and size structure of assemblages were documented inside and outside marine protected areas using transects, quadrats and measurements of maximum diameters. Over five years, bleaching and disease caused live cover to decrease from 26% to 14%, with full recovery seven years later. Juvenile densities varied, reaching a maximum in 2010. Both patterns were consistent within and outside protected areas. In addition, dominant coral species persisted within and outside protected areas although their size frequency distributions varied temporally and spatially. The health of the coral assemblage and the similarity of responses across levels of protection suggested that negligible anthropogenic disturbance at the local scale was a key factor underlying the observed resilience.
Camp, EF, Lohr, KE, Barry, SC, Bush, PG, Jacoby, CA & Manfrino, C 2013, 'Microhabitat associations of late juvenile Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) off Little Cayman, BWI', Bulletin of Marine Science, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 571-581.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Populations of the economically and ecologically important Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus Bloch, 1792, have declined to the point of being declared "endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Beyond existing efforts to reduce top-down pressure from overfishing, especially on spawning aggregations, recovery of Nassau grouper could be enhanced by preventing bottom-up pressures created by degradation of essential habitats. The design of suitable protection would benefit from knowledge of ontogenetic patterns in habitat use at multiple spatial scales, and this study documented microhabitat associations for late juvenile Nassau grouper in shallow, nearshore lagoons off Little Cayman Island. In total, 82% of juvenile grouper that were 12-26 cm in total length and approximately 1 yr old associated with hardbottom rather than other equally or more widespread microhabitats, i.e., sand, seagrass, and algae. Hardbottom provided crevices, holes, ledges, and other shelters. Approximately 96% of shelters contained a single juvenile grouper, and 10%-66% of these shelters also contained one or more cleaning organisms. These results suggest that protection of hardbottom in Little Cayman Island's lagoons would maintain the >1200 patches of microhabitat suitable for late juvenile Nassau grouper. © 2013 Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami.
Camp, E & Fraser, D 2012, 'Influence of conservation education dive briefings as a management tool on the timing and nature of recreational SCUBA diving impacts on coral reefs', Ocean and Coastal Management, vol. 61, pp. 30-37.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This study investigated the frequency and timing of physical impacts SCUBA divers have with the coral reefs in Key Largo, and whether these impacts are accidental or deliberate. Our study looks at the timing of diver interactions and how these can be managed. We also investigated the importance of diver conservation education and the value of conservational programmes in the Florida Keys as a user management tool.We used a triangulated method of direct observation, questionnaires and dive briefing analysis. The study took place over a three-month period from June until August 2010 in the John Pennekamp State Park Key Largo, Florida. 97% of the divers observed (n=83) physically interacted with the reef during their dive. Most contacts were accidental and were concentrated in the initial part of the dive. More in depth conservation education dive briefings significantly reduced the number of impacts divers made. Divers from the operator with conservation centred briefings impacted the reef significantly less with 0.16. ±. 0.08 (mean. ±. SE) touches per minute compared with 0.37. ±. 0.06 (mean. ±. SE) for the other charters. Our findings highlight the importance of conservational initiatives and improved conservational briefings on board dive charters. Gathering data on anthropogenic influences, like SCUBA divers, provides reef managers with vital information that can be used in reef management. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.