Alternate Title

The Potential use of Seagrass Herbivory Patterns as an Indicator of Herbivore Community Change after Tropical Marine Protected Area Establishment

Document Type

Short Communication


Throughout the Caribbean, fishing pressure has decreased the abundance of many species, including both large predators and larger-bodied herbivores. In an effort to reverse these trends and reduce harvest pressure on vulnerable fish populations, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been established throughout the Caribbean. Yet, the effort to monitor fish communities, is variable, and there are MPAs where no monitoring program exists. It is possible that other metrics may be used to determine whether the impact of MPA establishment. By comparing two seagrass herbivory experiments, one pre- and one post-MPA establishment, we provide evidence that the MPA established in Discovery Bay, Jamaica in 2009, may have altered the herbivore community. Seagrass grazing has decreased while the size of bites almost doubled after the MPA was established. This dramatic shift in herbivory rates and bite size might be useful indicators that the MPA in Discovery Bay is working, despite limited monitoring of fish populations.

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Carroll et al. Supplemental Figure S1.pdf (162 kB)
Supplemental Figure 1

Carroll et al. Supplemental Figure S2.pdf (245 kB)
Supplemental Figure 2