Global Vision International 2011 Report Series No.

004

GVI Mexico
Punta Gruesa Marine Expedition Mahahual

Quarterly Report 114 September - December 2011

Global Vision International 2011 Report Series No. 004

GVI Mexico, Punta Gruesa Expedition Report 114 Submitted in whole to GVI Amigo de Sian Ka’an Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) Produced by Esther Hantman – Field staff Maura Schonwald-Field staff Lluvia Soto – Country Director And Bryan Becker Ben Booth Laura Mchugh Ariadna Armas Tila Williams Patrick Brydon Rachael Ross Kelly Rensing Breanna Thompson Peter Waite Burton Dave Shepard Mischa Williamson Micheal Grall Jana Dlouha Caroline Ble Neils Prinssen Base Manager Field Staff Field Staff Field Staff Field Staff Scholar Scholar Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Debbie Thompson Jamie Krawciw Meredith Cavanagh Matt Peyton Kriss Saunders Thomas Mitchel Catherine Rossilin Peter Hollekim Peter Osbourne Heather Exley Evan Raymond Elizabeth Dawber Rebecca Fox Ixchel Garcia Rosie Sheba Simon Brownlie Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer NSP Volunteer Volunteer

Edited by Esther Hantman Lluvia Soto Daniel Ponce-Taylor GVI Mexico, Punta Gruesa Email: mexico@gviworld.com Web page: http://www.gvi.co.uk and http://www.gviusa.com

Executive Summary
The 16th, and last, ten-week phase of the Punta Gruesa, Mexico, GVI expedition has now been completed. Due to a revision of its national objectives and reassessment of the available resources, it has been decided that the activities on this location will not be continued after December 2011. This report will serve as a summary of the activities completed at Punta Gruesa. Further detailed analysis of the data collected during this time will be carried out and submitted to peer-reviewed journals for its publication. During the duration of the program, GVI maintained working relationships with local communities through both English classes and local community events. The programme continued to work towards the gathering of important environmental scientific data whilst working with local, national and international partners. The following projects were run during the whole duration of the programme, as well as on the last quarter (September- December 2011):    Coral reef monitoring of strategic sites along the coast. Training of volunteers in the MBRS methodology including fish, hard coral, and algae identification. Continuing the MBRS Synoptic Monitoring Programme (SMP) for the selected sites within the Mahahual region to provide regional decision makers with up to date information on the ecological condition of the reef.    Providing English lessons and environmental education opportunities for the local community. Further developing the current Marine Education programme for the children of Mahahual that works alongside the standard curriculum. Adding new reported coral and fish species to the on growing species list compiled during the duration of the program. This list will serve as a comprehensive guide for the region.   Weekly beach cleans within the area, monitoring waste composition and trends. Daily bird monitoring and incidental sightings programme.

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Table of Contents
Executive Summary ............................................................................................................. ii List of Figures.......................................................................................................................4 List of Tables ........................................................................................................................4 1. Introduction .................................................................................................................5 2. Synoptic Monitoring Programme ................................................................................7 2.1 Introduction ...........................................................................................................7 2.2 Aims ......................................................................................................................9 2.3 Methodology..........................................................................................................9 2.4 Results ................................................................................................................11 2.5 Discussion...........................................................................................................24 3. Community programme .................................................................................................29 3.1 Introduction .........................................................................................................29 3.2 Aims ....................................................................................................................29 3.3 Activities and Achievements ...............................................................................29 3.4 Review ................................................................................................................30 4. Incidental Sightings ........................................................................................................32 4.1 Introduction .........................................................................................................32 4.2 Aims ....................................................................................................................32 4.3 Methodology........................................................................................................32 4.4 Results ................................................................................................................33 4.5 Discussion...........................................................................................................35 5. Marine Litter Monitoring Programme.............................................................................37 5.1 Introduction .........................................................................................................37 5.2 Aims ....................................................................................................................37 5.3 Methodology........................................................................................................37 5.4 Results ................................................................................................................38 5.5 Discussion...........................................................................................................39 6. Bird Monitoring Programme...........................................................................................41 6.1 Introduction .........................................................................................................41 6.2 Aims ....................................................................................................................41 6.3 Methodology........................................................................................................42 6.4 Results ................................................................................................................42 6.5 Discussion...........................................................................................................45 7. Seagrass Monitoring Programme..................................................................................47 7.1 Introduction .........................................................................................................47 7.2 Aims ....................................................................................................................47 7.3 Methodology........................................................................................................47 7.4 Results ................................................................................................................48 7.5 Discussion...........................................................................................................49 8. Summary........................................................................................................................50 9. References .....................................................................................................................52 10. Appendices ..................................................................................................................54 Appendix I – SMP Methodology Outlines .................................................................54 Appendix II - Adult Fish Indicator Species List .........................................................58 Appendix III - Juvenile Fish Indicator Species List...................................................59 Appendix IV - Coral Species List ..............................................................................60 Appendix V - Fish Species List .................................................................................61 Appendix VI a - Bird Species List .............................................................................66

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Appendix VI b - Bird Species List .............................................................................67

List of Figures
Figure 2-3-1 The Dive Sites of Punta Gruesa Figure 2-4-1 Percentage Cover of Hermatypic Coral and Macroalgae by phase. Figure 2-4-2 Percentage Cover of Hermatypic Coral on each site by phase. Figure 2-4-3 Benthic composition breakdown. Figure 2-4-4 Most common coral seen per phase Figure 2-4-5 Disease occurrence by phase. Figure 2-4-6 Predation occurrence by phase. Figure 2-4-7 Percentage of colonies bleached from 2008 to 2011. Figure 2-4-8. Bleaching Occurrence 081-114 Figure 2-4-9 Adult fish recorded per transect across phases Figure 2-4-10 Total adult fish biomass per phase Figure 2-4-11 Average Percentage Abundance of Adult Fish by Family: Phases 081-104 Figure 2-4-12 Changes in adult fish family percentage abundance Figure 2-4-13 Percentage abundance per family from January 2008 to December 2011. Figure 2-4-14 Percentage abundance of juvenile fish families by phase Figure 4-4-1 Total number of incidental sightings recorded by phase Figure 4-4-2 Number of lionfish sightings per phase from June 2009 until December 2011. Figure 5-4-1 Average Weight of Litter Collected per Week by Phase (Kg) Figure 5-4-2 Breakdown of rubbish collected since 092 to 114 in kg. Figure 6-4-1 Most common bird species or families recorded during phase 114 Figure 6-4-2 Species observed from 092 to 114

List of Tables
Table 2-3-1 Name, Site ID, Depth and GPS points of the monitoring sites Table 2-4-1 Coral colonies monitored by CC at Punta Gruesa Table 2-4-2 Number of transects and adult fish recorded per phase. Table 2-4-3 Number of transects/juvenile fish recorded per phase Table 4-4-1 Breakdown of species recorded in 114 Table 6-4-1 Most common species recorded since 092 to 114. Table 7-3-1 GPS positions for sea grass transects
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1. Introduction
The Yucatan Peninsula is fringed by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS), the second largest barrier reef system in the world, extending over four countries. Starting from Isla Contoy at the North of the Yucatan Peninsula it stretches down the Eastern coast of Mexico down to Honduras via Belize and Guatemala. The project at Punta Gruesa, in collaboration with a sister base in Pez Maya located inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, assisted our project partners, Amigos de Sian Ka’an (ASK) and Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) in obtaining baseline data along the coast of Quintana Roo through marine surveys. This data allows ASK to focus on the areas needing immediate environmental regulation depending on susceptibility and therefore, implement management protection plans as and when required. Such a project is especially significant in current times of rapid development along the small fishing village coast of the Mahahual area due to the tourism industry generated by the cruise ship pier that was built near the town in 2002. The project at Punta Gruesa will not continue running, therefore this is the last report produced. During the time the programme was running the methodologies continued to be improved and focused as experience was gained and improvement to data quality was continuous. This report collates and summarizes all the data collected from January 2008 until December 2011. The following research/monitoring programmes were carried out during the last four years:  The MBRS Synoptic Monitoring Programme  Community Work Programme  Incidental Sightings  Marine Littering Monitoring Programme  Bird Monitoring Programme  Seagrass Monitoring Programme

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Note: The monitoring periods throughout the year are defined, within this report, as phases. Each year is divided into 4 phases or quarters. Each quarter receives a numerical code, comprised of the last two digits of the year (i.e. 09 for 2009) and the number of the quarter during that specific year (i.e. 2 for the 2nd quarter of the 2009). For example 093 represents the 3rd quarter or phase of 2009.

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2. Synoptic Monitoring Programme
2.1 Introduction The Synoptic Monitoring Programme looks to evaluate the overall health of the reef by looking at three main areas: Benthic cover, fish populations and physical parameters. Benthic Cover Caribbean reefs were once dominated by hard coral, with huge Acropora palmata stands on the reef crests and Acropora cervicornis and Montastraea annularis dominating the fore reef. Today, many reefs in the Caribbean have been overrun by macro algae during a phase shift which is thought to have been brought about by numerous factors including a decrease in herbivory from fishing and other pressures, eutrophication from land-based activities and disease (McClanahan & Muthiga, 1998). Benthic transects record the abundance of all benthic species as well as looking at coral health. The presence of corals on the reef is in itself an indicator of health, not only because of the reefs’ current state, but also for its importance to fish populations (Spalding & Jarvis, 2002). Coral health is not only impacted by increased nutrients and algal growth, but by other factors, both naturally occurring and anthropogenically introduced. A report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in 2004 stated that nearly 66% of Caribbean reefs are at risk from anthropogenic activities, with over 40% of reefs at high to very high risk (UNEP-WCMC, 2006). Through monitoring the abundances of hard corals, algae and various other key benthic species, as well as numbers of Diadema urchin encountered, we aim to determine not only the current health of the local reefs but also to track any shifts in phase state over time. Fish Populations Fish surveys are focused on specific species that play an important role in the ecology of the reef as herbivores, carnivores, commercially important fish or those likely to be affected by human activities (AGRRA, 2000).

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For more in depth rationale of the importance of each of the key fish families please see previous GVI Mahahual/Punta Gruesa reports, they can be found and downloaded in our blog: www.gvimexico.blospot.com All reef fish play an important role in maintaining the health and balance of a reef community. Fishing typically removes larger predatory fish from the reef, which not only alters the size structure of the reef fish communities, but with the reduction in predation pressure, the abundance of fish further down the food chain is now determined through competition for resources (AGRRA, 2000). Although each fish is important, the removal of herbivores can have a considerable impact on the health of the reef, particularly in an algal dominated state, which without their presence has little chance of returning to coral dominance. Through the monitoring of these fish and by estimating their size, the current condition of the reef at each site can be assessed, any trends or changes can be tracked and improvements or deteriorations determined. The monitoring of juvenile fish concentrates on a few specific species. The presence and number of larvae at different sites can be used as an indication of potential future population size and diversity. Due to the extensive distribution of larvae, however, numbers cannot be used to determine the spawning potential of a specific reef. The removal of fish from a population as a result of fishing, however, may influence spawning potential and affect larval recruitment on far away reefs. The removal of juvenile predators through fishing may also alter the number of recruits surviving to spawn themselves (AGRRA, 2000). Together with the information collected about adult fish a balanced picture of the reef fish communities at different sites can be obtained. Physical Parameters For the optimum health and growth of coral communities certain factors need to remain relatively stable. Measurements of turbidity, water temperature, salinity, cloud cover, and sea state are taken during survey dives. Temperature increases or decreases can negatively influence coral health and survival. As different species have different optimum

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temperature ranges, changes can also influence species richness. Corals also require clear waters to allow for optimal photosynthesis. The turbidity of the water can be influenced by weather, storms or high winds stirring up the sediment, or anthropogenic activities such as deforestation and coastal construction. Increased turbidity reduces light levels and can result in stress to the coral. Any increase in coral stress levels can result in them becoming susceptible to disease or result in a bleaching event.

2.2 Aims The projects at Punta Gruesa and Pez Maya aim to identify coral and fish species with a long term, continuous dataset allowing changes in the ecosystem to be identified. The projects also aim to ascertain areas of high species diversity and abundance. The data is then supplied to the project partners who can use the data to support management plans for the area. 2.3 Methodology The methods employed for the underwater visual census work are those outlined in the MBRS manual (Almada-Villela et al., 2003), but to summarize, GVI use three separate methods for buddy pairs: Buddy method 1: Surveys of corals, algae and other sessile organisms Buddy method 2: Belt transect counts for coral reef fish Buddy Method 3: Coral Rover and Fish Rover diver The separate buddy pair systems are outlined in detail in Appendix I. The 9 sites that are monitored as part of the MBRS programme at GVI Punta Gruesa, detailed below, were chosen through discussions with ASK, the Programa de Manejo Integrado de Recursos Costeros (MIRC, a subsidiary of UQROO) and discussions with local fishermen. These sites make up a coastal range of 6.5km in the immediate vicinity of Punta Gruesa (See Figure 2-3-1 below) and were monitored every 3 months to give a long term evaluation of the reef health.

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Figure 2-3-1 The Dive Sites of Punta Gruesa

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Table 2-3-1

Name, Site ID, Depth and GPS points of the monitoring s ites.

Site Name Los Bollos Las Joyas Los Milagros Costa Norte Las Delicias Las Palapas Flor de Cañón Sol Naciente Los Gorditos

Site ID LB10 LJ10 LM10 CN10 LD10 LP10 FDC10 SN10 LG25

Depth 10m 10m 10m 10m 10m 10m 10m 10m 25m

Latitude 19°02´21.8´´ 19°01´53.0´´ 19°01´36.7´´ 19°01´31.0´´ 19°01´24.7´´ 19°01´55.8´´ 19°02´04.4´´ 19°00´36.0´´ 18°59´37.6´´

Longitude 087°33´54.8´´ 087°34´07.6´´ 087°34´15.9´´ 087°34´16.5´´ 087°34´20.2´´ 087°34´05.1´´ 087°34´03.8´´ 087°34´33.0´´ 087°34´51.9´´

GPS points are listed here in the WGS84 datum. The position format is hddd° mm´ ss.s´´ The eight sites at 10m are situated on the reef crest with one deeper site “Los Gorditos”, which offers a wide sample area with spur and groove formations.

2.4 Results From January 2008 to December 2011, a total of 550 coral transects and 900 fish transects were done. Benthic Data One of the main focuses of the coral monitoring was the coral coverage against the algae cover. The reefs around the area showed an average coral cover of 10.46% and 66.34% of macroalgae. The coral cover has maintained relatively stable since January 2008 when the survey began, it ranged from 7.6% (phase 083) up to 13.1% (phase 112). The macroalgae cover ranged from 60.8% (phase 104) to 72.9% (phase 103). In a year by year comparison, it had been observed that the lowest average cover of macroalgae was during the fourth quarter (September-December) of each year with the exception of the this last quarter (October-December 2011).

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Figure 2-4-1 Percentage Cover of Hermatypic Coral and Macroalgae by phase.

The site with the highest coral cover percentage was LJ with an average of 14.84%. This site registered the maximum coverage since the survey began with 21.17% on phase 094 (Sept – Dec 2009). LJ was also the site with the lowest macro algae cover registered. The site with the lowest coral cover was LD with an average of 7.21%. Across the phases LD and FDC were the sites with the lowest numbers recorded. LD was the site that had the highest values on macro algae coverage. Due to weather conditions, not all the sites were monitored every phase, therefore there is some information missing for some of the phases, as can be observed in Figure 2-4-2.

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Figure 2-4-2 Percentage Cover of Hermatypic Coral on each site by phase.

The four main components of the benthos were macroalgae (66.34%), followed by corallinales (coralline algae) with 14.72% coverage, hermatypic coral with 10.46% and sponges with 3.62% coverage.

Figure 2-4-3 Benthic composition breakdown.

The most common coral registered was Agaricia agaricites with a total of 1972 colonies which represents 28.23% of the corals recorded. The second most common was Siderastrea siderea with 1737 colonies representing 26.28%. The most uncommon coral

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was Isophyllia sinuosa with only one colony recorded since the survey began in Pta Gruesa.

Figure 2-4-4 Most common coral seen per phase

During the time the project was running, a total of 9714 colonies were monitored as part of the coral communities’ survey, in a total of 550 transects.
Table 2-4-1 Coral colonies monitored by CC at Punta Gruesa

Phase 081 082 083 084 091 092 093 094 101 102 103 104 111 112 113 114

Transects 21 32 35 34 39 30 45 45 45 35 44 35 20 45 20 25

Colonies 410 558 523 517 542 554 767 831 684 632 771 679 396 971 479 400

Of the total of 9714 monitored colonies, 506 colonies presented some kind of disease accounting for the 5.20%. The most common disease was Dark spot followed by the Red Band disease. There was a steady increase in disease occurrence until the final of 2010. Since the start of 2011 the occurrence of coral disease has seen a decrease, but not

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reaching the low levels of 2008. Incidence of disease was recorded over a wide variety of coral genus. Agaricia, Dichocoenia, Diploria, Helioceris, Meandrina, Montastraea, Siderastrea and Stephanocoenia were all affected, and in some genus, Montastraea in particular, multiple species showed multiple diseases to be present.

Figure 2-4-5 Disease occurrence by phase(BBD-Black band disease; DS-Dark spot; YBD-Yellow blotch disease; RBD-Red band disease; WP-White plage).

Predation, of some sort, was present in 576 colonies accounting for the 5.9% of the colonies studied. The most common type of predation was sponge predation which affected 525 colonies, followed by gorgonian predation, which affected 79. The type of predation that has the lowest number of records was fire worm predation.

Figure 2-4-6 Predation occurrence by phase.

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Since the survey began in 2008, 2953 coral colonies presented some kind of bleaching, accounting for a 30.39% of the total recorded colonies. A yearly pattern was observed whereby the number of beached colonies increased towards the last quarter of every year with the exception of 2010 when the major bleaching event was during the third quarter of the year. Phase 094 (October-December 2009) had the highest number of bleached colonies since the survey began; while phase 112 (March-June 2011) had the lowest.

Figure 2-4-7 Percentage of colonies bleached from 2008 to 2011.

Siderastrea siderea is the most common coral where bleaching was observed, often found to be pale bleached and has therefore been separated from the other corals so as not to bias the results and obscure any bleaching patterns in other corals. There was a dramatic decrease in the bleaching occurrence in Siderastrea siderea colonies during Phase 104 that continued to decrease towards the end of 2011 (phase 114), which has the lowest records of bleaching for this species.

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There was also a decrease in bleaching occurrence in other coral species although to a lesser extent.

Figure 2-4-8. Bleaching Occurrence 081-114

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Fish Populations From January 2008 to December 2011 a total of 13,148 adult fish were registered on a total of 900 transects. The phase with the highest number of individuals recorded was 112 and the phase with the lowest record was 084 despite the fact that it was not the phase with the lowest number of transects undertaken.
Table 2-4-2 Number of transects and adult fish recorded per phase .

Phase 081 082 083 084 091 092 093 094 101 102 103 104 111 112 113 114

Transects per phase 30 54 49 40 39 48 72 72 72 56 72 64 40 72 64 56

Total target adult fi sh in phase 391 649 280 321 328 843 809 1282 1264 1050 792 879 360 1453 1436 1011

Av. fi sh per transect 13.03 12.02 5.71 8.03 8.41 17.56 11.24 17.81 17.56 18.75 11.00 13.73 9.0 20.18 22.44 18.05

No. of species 31 33 27 28 29 36 38 38 40 31 33 30 28 35 33 34

Figure 2-4-9 Adult fish recorded per transect across phases

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Adult fish biomass is estimated using a weighting system for each size category and species (Froese & Pauly, 2006, figures obtained from table constructed by A. Cameron). Total biomass of all target adult fish species in 104 was calculated to be 4.59 kg 100 m -2 (Figure 2-4-14). This brings the average biomass for our study area to 3.87 kg 100 m -2 from January 2008 to December 2011.

Figure 2-4-10 Total adult fish biomass per phase (the black line is the average biomass, 3.87 kg 100m 2)

Following previous trends, the Haemulidae was the most commonly recorded family over all phases, with 50.86% of the total number observed. The second most abundant family was the Acanthuridae with 20.99%. Sphyraenidae (Great Barracuda) are rarely recorded in transects in any phase, although they have been observed outside of transects (see Incidental Sightings section).

Figure 2-4-11 Average Percentage Abundance of Adult Fish by Family: Phases 081 -104

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In previous phases it was noted that the two dominant families, Haemulidae and Acanthuridae, appeared to be showing a link in abundance: where one increased the other decreased and vice versa. This pattern continued to be observed this last monitoring quarter. The percentage abundances of Pomacanthidae and Pomacentridae increased and decreased in sync with each other between Phases 082 and 102, then a gain from 111 to 114 (Fig 2-4-12). Balistidae and Monacanthidae are grouped together. The percentage abundance of this collective group declined dramatically between 081-091 but since then numbers increased slightly and remained relatively stable until 2011 when they showed a big increase on the first quarter to then have a great decrease for the following months .

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Figure 2-4-12 Changes in adult fish family percentage abundance

A total of 12,611 juveniles were recorded in the 900 transects completed. Across the four years of data collection, juvenile numbers seem to be higher in the second and third phases of the year and lowest during the first phase of the year.

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Table 2-4-3 Number of transects/juve nile fish recorded per phase

Phase 081 082 083 084 091 092 093 094 101 102 103 104 111 112 113 114

Transects per phase 30 54 49 40 39 48 72 72 72 56 72 64 40

Total juvenile fish in phase 302 815 606 308 224 862 2150 570 437 1211 1145 495 174

Av. Juvenile fish per transect 10.07 15.09 12.37 7.70 5.74 17.96 29.86 7.92 6.07 21.63 15.90 7.73

72 64 56

901 1932 479

4.35 12.51 30.19 8.43

Stegastes partitus is, on average, the most abundant juvenile species recorded and numbers are lowest during the fourth phase each year, however, the next three most abundant species all tend to be lowest in numbers during the first phase each year. The four lowest abundances for Halichoeres garnoti and for Sparisoma aurofrenatum were all from the first phases of the year, and three of the four lowest abundances of Stegastes partitus were also in the first phase of the year. This could explain the annual cyclical pattern observed in juvenile fish abundance. A total of six juvenile fish families were recorded on transects from January 2008 to December 2011. The most abundant family was Labridae, which made up 50.91% of recorded juveniles.

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Figure 2-4-13 Percentage abundance per family from January 2008 to December 2011.

There appears to be some link in percentage abundance between Labridae and Pomacentridae juveniles, with one decreasing as the other increases. Scaridae abundance is quite variable; their numbers seem to peak during the fourth phase of each year. Acanthuridae, Chaetodontidae and Grammatidae juvenile numbers on the reef remain low across all phases.

Figure 2-4-14

Percentage abundance of juvenile fish families by phase

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2.5 Discussion Benthic data Coral cover on reefs across the Caribbean has decreased dramatically over the past three decades from about 50% to 10% cover (Gardner et al., 2003). Although the coral cover at Punta Gruesa is lower than it has been in the past, it is in line with other values reported for this region. The average percentage coral cover over all monitored years was 10.46%.

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This percentage of coral cover is slightly below the regional average of 11% but it is above the Mexico Yucatan average of 7.5% (Wilkinson, 2008).

The macroalgae cover is dramatically higher (66.34%) than the regional average of 18% and the Mexico Yucatan average of 14.9% (Wilkinson, 2008). AGRRA (2005) states that the average macroalgae cover for the Mesoamerican Reef is 25% and the Caribbean average is 34%. There is a certain degree of variation between these figures but, regardless of which is “correct”, the values calculated at Punta Gruesa are consistently significantly higher. Rogers & Miller (2006) found that when new substrate was made available in one Caribbean site following a severe hurricane, algae colonized the newly available substrate and, once established, slowed or prevented new coral colonization. Hurricane Dean was a powerful Category 5 Hurricane that made land fall in Mahahual in August 2007 (Franklin, 2008), so it is possible that this may be the reason for the high macroalgae cover in this region.

The three lowest average values of macroalgae cover at Punta Gruesa all occur during the fourth phase of each year with the exception of the last monitored phase (OctoberDecember 2011). Dawes et al. (1974) carried out studies on three species of macroalgae (Eucheuma sp.) in Florida and found that they exhibited peak rates of growth in the spring and lower rates of growth in the summer/fall. These lower summer growth rates were due to high temperatures, increased light intensities and a decrease in available nutrients. The monitoring during the fourth phase of each year occurred after these low rates of growth and before peak growth rates in spring and so could explain the observed pattern.

Over all the phases, 30.93% of the colonies monitored were recorded as suffering from some sort of bleaching. Bleaching in 2010 peaked in the Phase 103, slightly earlier than in 2008, 2009 and 2011 when it peaked in the fourth phase. Studies have recorded that temperature increases of 1°C above average for a sustained period (i.e. a month) can cause mass bleaching (Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999). This can also be amplified by calm seas, allowing more photosynthetically active radiation to penetrate the surface waters (Sheppard et al., 2009). This would roughly explain the annual pattern that has been observed here since 2008. NOAA (2010) observed that, since March 2010, monthly seasurface temperature averaged over the whole of the main cyclone development region (which includes the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean) have been at record

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levels. These high temperatures early in the season could have caused an early peak in levels of bleaching. The extremely low levels of bleaching recorded during Phase 104 are difficult to explain given that sea temperatures were predicted to be at record levels throughout most of 2010.

Dark spot disease remained the most common disease recorded. This disease is most commonly observed on Siderastrea siderea (Humann & DeLoach 2008), which may explain why the disease is recorded with such frequency. Siderastrea siderea is the second most common coral recorded. There has been a steady increase in disease occurrence since monitoring began at Punta Gruesa. Rosenberg & Ben-Haim (2002) compiled a review of microbial diseases in corals in which they concluded that diseases of corals have increased dramatically during the last few decades. Rosenberg & Ben-Haim stated that outbreaks of these diseases are highly correlated with increases in sea-water temperature and went on to say that in the twentieth century, there was an average worldwide 1˚C rise in temperature, the largest in more than 1000 years. As mentioned above, NOAA (2010) observed that 2010 has been a record year for sea surface temperature. These conditions were expected to persist through August-October. Sponge predation was the most common type of predation recorded each phase, and showed a huge peak in occurrence during Phase 102. Overall there has been an increase in levels of predation. This trend is still evident when sponge predation data is excluded. Fish Populations The number of adults recorded per transect appears to have gradually increased across phases but with considerable variation. This is mostly due to an increase in Haemulidae, the dominant family, which makes up an average of 50.86% of the fish recorded. Haemulidae often make up the largest biomass on reefs in continental or insular shelf areas that have large expanses of grass beds and sand flats (Human & DeLoach, 2008). The average biomass for our study area was 3.87 kg 100 m -2. These values are lower than the biomass calculated for the Mesoamerican region, which is 4.98 kg 100 m -2, but are higher than the biomass calculated for the Mexico Yucatan region, which is 3.03 kg 100m -2 (Wilkinson, 2008). It is worth bearing in mind though, that the biomass calculated at Punta

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Gruesa is calculated using target fish species only, whereas the figures given above could have included additional species as it was not specified in the bibliography. In the report for Phase 101 it was mentioned that surveyor error in sizing estimates may have biased the data for 094. Although training is rigorous and volunteers must show consistently high accuracy in identification and sizing estimates prior to beginning monitoring, there will always be some degree of human error in data collection, particularly in size estimates done by eye. Studies suggest that visual sizing by non-specialist divers will achieve 80% accuracy by the third trial (Darwall & Dulvy, 1996), and that this is not significantly different from observations by experienced observers. Without recourse to expensive recording equipment, error in this area is as minimised as practically possible. In previous phases it was noted that the two dominant families, Haemulidae and Acanthuridae, appeared to be showing an inverse link in abundance: where one increased the other decreased and vice versa. This pattern continued every phase. As these families occupy differing niches within the coral reef ecosystem, it is unlikely that populations should have a direct effect on one another. Acanthuridae feed throughout the day on a wide variety of plants on the reef (DeLoach, 1999), while most Haemulidae are carnivores feeding nocturnally on crustaceans in the sand flats and seagrass beds (Humann & DeLoach, 2008). This habitat preference may explain why both species are less frequently recorded on the deeper site LG than at the shallower reef crest sites with easier access to feeding grounds (see previous reports from Punta Gruesa available on: www.gvimexico.blogspot.com). The percentage abundances of Pomacanthidae and Pomacentridae (represented only by the yellowtail damselfish, Microspathadon chrysurus) increased and decreased in sync with each other between Phases 082 and 102 but this pattern has not continued since then. These two families also occupy different niches within the coral reef ecosystem so; once again, it is unlikely that their populations should have a direct effect on each other. Pomacanthidae are sponge-eating species. The tissue from a wide variety of sponges making up 95% of the food consumed by species in the genus Holacanthus, and 70% in the genus Pomacanthus. Microspathadon chrysurus, however, farm and defend permanent territories of filamentous algae that surround their centrally-located hiding holes (DeLoach, 1999).

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Throughout the four years of data collection, juvenile numbers have exhibited a cyclic pattern, with abundance being greatest in the second and third phases of the year and lowest during the first phase of the year. This pattern is mostly driven by abundance of Stegastes partitus (Bicolor damselfish), Thalassoma bifasciatum (Bluehead wrasse), Sparisoma aurofrenatum (Redband parrotfish) and Halichoeres garnoti (Yellowhead wrasse) all of which are recorded in great numbers each year at Punta Gruesa and all of which are highest in numbers during the second and third phases. These results can be explained by spawning cycles. Although many species settle randomly throughout the year, recruitment reaches its peak in the summer (DeLoach, 1999). The most abundant juvenile family recorded was Labridae, which made up 50.91% of juveniles over all phases. This is partly due to the fact that there are six different species within this family that are recorded, but is also due to the very high numbers of Thalassoma bifasciatum and Halichoeres garnoti. There appears to be some link in percentage abundance between Labridae and Pomacentridae juveniles, with one decreasing as the other increases. This may be the result of spawning cycles. Scaridae abundance is quite variable; their numbers seem to peak during the fourth phase of each year.GVI Mexico team will continue to analyze the data to try to identify the patterns as well as their correlation.

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3. Community programme
3.1 Introduction GVI is committed to working with the local communities, aiming and assisting in the sustainable development of Mahahual. For that, we centred our activities in two main aspects: English and Environmental Education. GVI hoped to provide locals in Mahahual with the tools to develop the area beneficially for local inhabitants, local professions and needs, whilst protecting it for the future. Consequently, during both the child and adult education programs, wherever possible an environmental theme was included within the structure of the lessons. 3.2 Aims The aims of the community programme in Punta Gruesa were: 1. To raise awareness about the importance of the ecosystems that surround their area, providing them with information about it and organizing activities to reinforce the knowledge given. 2. To provide locals with English lessons that will help them to develop a skill that is necessary for them in order to be able to communicate with the growing tourist visitors that come to the area. 3. To participate in the different activities that are organized by the locals and provide help if it is needed. 3.3 Activities and Achievements A wide range of activities were done during the time GVI Mexico worked in Mahahual area since 2004, having as the main activities the English lessons and the Environmental Education. The expedition moved to a different location on 2008, Punta Gruesa, but continued to work with the local community of Mahahual. Once a week the volunteers prepared lessons to be delivered to different groups of students from primary school children, teenagers and adults. Games, interactive activities and songs are some of the tools they used to reinforce the knowledge. After the lesson volunteers and staff had feedback sessions to debrief and comment on the lesson’s developments and achievement of its initial objectives.

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The lessons were delivered at different times, morning and evenings, and they were rescheduled depending on the number of attendees. On the last period of the programme, the evening lessons were the most successful due to the working times of the majority of the adult students, who are mainly taxi drivers, builders, waiters, masseuses and sales people, and for the school students who voluntarily attend because they wanted (or their parents wanted them) to spend extra time working on their English, without interrupting the normal flow of the school day, or sharing those classes with uninterested students. Attendances varied through the years having groups of 1 up to 75 students. There were different locations, from schools, hotels and even restaurants in Mahahual, Las Casitas and El Uvero. The Environmental Education was a key component of the community work done during the time GVI Mexico worked in the area. There was a variety of activities done, from lessons and games to the organization of different festivities like Project Aware’s Dive into Earth Day, where the volunteers and staff took teenagers snorkelling and diving to know more about the reef ecosystems. There was a regular participation in every beach and reef clean organized by the community as well as mangrove clean and lionfish fishing event. Other activities outside Mahahual where GVI Punta Gruesa also participated were the Turtle camp in Xcacel, where the volunteers spent nights patrolling the beaches looking for turtles nestings, and the Turtle Festival organized by different NGOs to celebrate the ending of the nesting season. 3.4 Review The community programme was very successful during the 4 years that GVI was based at Punta Gruesa. Volunteers and staff delivered English lesson to more than 250 students of different ages and levels of knowledge. The lessons were of great importance as they helped the local community to develop the necessary skills to work in the tourist industry, which is one of the main activities in the area. The Environmental Education programmes gave the opportunity to the locals to know more about the different habitats that surround Mahahual and the importance of each of

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them. The lessons were given to both children and adults and had a variety of games, songs and activities according to the audience. GVI Punta Gruesa continued to participate in other activities organized by the people in Mahahual like the Project Aware’s Dive into Earth Day, Lionfish hunting competitions, Jatsa Ha Festival, Mahahual’s carnival, Beach and Reef cleans, etc, where volunteers, staff and the local community had the opportunity to interact and learn from each other. The community programme and the work done by the volunteers will be missed in town.

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4. Incidental Sightings
4.1 Introduction GVI Punta Gruesa implemented an incidental sightings program since January 2008, following on from the previous Mahahual bases’ data since 2004. This is due to the high number of turtles and other mega fauna species seen on dives in the area. Species that make up the incidental sightings list are:      

Sharks and Rays Eels Turtles Marine Mammals Great Barracuda Lionfish

These groups are identified to species level where possible and added to the data collected by the Ocean Biogeographic Information Systems Spatial Ecological Analysis of Mega vertebrate Populations (OBIS-SEAMAP) database. An interactive online archive for marine mammal, seabird and turtle data, OBIS-SEAMAP aims to improve understanding of the distribution and ecology of marine mega fauna by quantifying global patterns of biodiversity, undertaking comparative studies, and monitoring the status of and impacts on threatened species. 4.2 Aims The aim of the project was to record all mega fauna sightings in the vicinity of Punta Gruesa and to keep track of the population numbers and spread of lionfish. 4.3 Methodology Each time an incidental sighting species was seen on a dive or snorkel it was identified, and the date, time, location, depth it was seen at, and size were all recorded. The volunteers were provided with a Mega fauna presentation during science training, which aids in identification of shark, ray and turtle species. All the completed dives were logged by GVI, showing the total effort for each phase in comparison with the species recorded.

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For the first time during phase 093, July - September 2009, GVI Punta Gruesa began recording lionfish sightings. Over the past decade the Pacific Lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) has established itself along the Atlantic coast as a result of multiple releases (intentional or otherwise) from private aquaria. This invasive species lacking in natural predators, has adapted well to the warm waters of the Caribbean, and is currently spreading its geographical range along the Mesoamerican coastline. 4.4 Results During this phase a total of 279 incidental sightings were recorded (not including lionfish or great barracuda) across 266 trips out to the reef. This equates to a unit effort of 1.04 sightings per boat. These figures also include anything spotted during snorkel trips to the lagoon but the total number of snorkel trips that were made is unknown.

Figure 4-4-1 Total number of incidental sightings recorded by phase

Three species of elasmobranchs were registered with the southern stingray as the most common one. While the spotted moray eel was the most common species registered of the three species registered on the moray eels group.

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Only two species of dolphins were recorded and three species of marine turtles.
Table 4-4-1 Breakdown of species recorded in 114

Elasmobranchs

Moray eels

Marine turtles

Marine mammals Lionfish Great barracuda

No. Species Individuals Nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) 1 Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) 82 Spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) 14 Unidentified rays 13 Green moray (Gymnothorax funebris) 12 Spotted moray (Gymnothorax moringa) 18 Golden tail moray (Gymnothorax miliaris) 3 Unidentified eels 6 Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) 9 Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) 15 Green (Chelonia mydas) 3 Unidentified 10 Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) 17 Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) 12 Unidentified 65 Pterios sp. 161 Sphyraena barracuda 186 Total 626

186 great barracuda were recorded, including six sightings at the site LC (Las Cavernas) of groups of 11-23 individuals swimming together. They ranged in size from 0.5-1.5m in length. 161 lionfish were recorded during phase 114. They ranged in size from 1-40cm but were most common in the over 26cm category (44 individuals). 18 of these were killed and another four wounded in an attempt to control lionfish numbers on the reef. From June 2009 to December 2011, a total of 1380 lionfish were registered.

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Figure 4-4-2 Number of lionfish sightings per phase from June 2009 until December 2011 .

4.5 Discussion A total of 279 incidental sightings were recorded this last phase. Figure 4.1 shows that the number of incidentals drops every other year in the fourth phase and reaches a peak in the fourth phase of the following year. The most common species recorded this last phase was the southern stingray (Dasyatis Americana), which is consistent with data from previous phases. Southern stingrays have been the most common elasmobranchs recorded every phase since monitoring began here at the start of 2008, with the exception of phase 083 (July-September 2008). They tend to spend a lot of time partially buried in the sand, just off the reef wall. They are often very conspicuous from the dive sites, which may partially explain the high numbers recorded. Also, when carrying out monitoring and training dives we repeatedly visit the same sites so it is possible that we may count the same rays more than once. There were 15 hawksbill turtles were sighted this phase which is the highest number since phase 093 (June-September 2009). A total of 37 turtles were recorded in total which is the highest number recorded since monitoring began here at the start of 2008. There were 186 great barracuda sightings during this phase. This is the highest number recorded at Punta Gruesa. 113 of the barracuda recorded were at the site LC (Las Cavernas) accounting for a large number of the overall sightings. Barracuda were seen at this site in schools with numbers ranging from 11 to 23 per quarter. Repeated visits to this

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site could also explain the high numbers. This behaviour is unusual as barracuda are usually solitary. The numbers of barracuda were also high in 2009, 134 were sighted in phase 092 (April-June 2009) with schools being recorded of up to 20, sightings dropped in 2010 with only 32 sightings during the whole year. The number of dolphins (93) seen this phase is the highest number since phase 101 (January-April 2010). This number is significantly higher than the average recorded over all other phases of 38 dolphins. 161 lionfish were recorded during this phase. This is lower than numbers recorded in the last two phases. Previous data has shown a steady increase in the population of lionfish in phase 092 (April-June 2009) 3 lionfish were recorded. The increase in Pterois volitans and P. miles sightings poses a potentially large problem for the reefs at Punta Gruesa as they are known to be voracious predators. This problem will only worsen unless m ore efforts are made to keep the population in check. In the last year numbers have been stable with around 1 sighting per site visit with the exception of this phase where only 0.6 were sighted per site visit. The reason for the decrease in numbers is unknown it could be because lionfish sightings were not recorded, it could also be due the fact that lionfish killing competitions have been taking place regularly in the nearby town Mahahual, which would be a very positive sign for the reef’s long term sustainability.. According to Morris et al (2010), only 27% of the population needs to be removed monthly for the population to decrease. The last phase 11.2% of the lionfish that were recorded were killed which will hopefully go some way in helping to control the population.

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5. Marine Litter Monitoring Programme.
5.1 Introduction Punta Gruesa’s location on the Yucatan Peninsula means that it faces the Caribbean Current. This is a circular current that combined with the Loop current and the Yucatan current, transports a significant amount of water Northwest ward through the Caribbean Sea. The main source is from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean via the North Equatorial, North Brazil and Guiana Currents. Due to the volume of water that is transported and both the nature and origin of the said currents, it is possible that the litter being found is from quite far afield. This could be compounded by the high shipping pressures, in particular the cruise ships that pass through to Mahahual on a regular basis on average carrying approx. 2-3,000 passengers. Other factors also include outflows from rivers and storm drains etc. If this is the most common source for the marine debris then it is likely that weather changes, which have an impact on both tide lines and sea turbulence, will have a direct and noticeable effect on the amount of rubbish washed up. Phase 092, April – June 2009, saw the beginning of the marine litter collection program at Punta Gruesa. Marine litter is prevalent along the Caribbean coast and is not only unsightly but a health hazard to marine life and humans alike. In order to collect more data on this issue a beach clean program was conducted every phase. This is part of a worldwide program and is just one method of investigation to discover where marine litter originates from and which materials are most common. 5.2 Aims This project had three main aims:    Quantified data and photographic evidence as to the extent of marine litter. Conservation of terrestrial and marine fauna threatened by litter. Improvement of beach aesthetics.

5.3 Methodology Marine litter was collected weekly on a 200m stretch of beach north of base. The transect was cleared one week prior to the commencement of the monitoring program, in order that only a weekly amount of debris is recorded. Materials were collected from the tide mark to the vegetation line to eliminate waste created by inland terrestrial sources.
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The waste was separated, weighed and recorded by the categories      Fabric Glass Plastic Polystyrene Metal      Natural material (modified) Medical waste Rubber Rope Other

below:

5.4 Results A total of 100.94kg of marine litter was collected this phase across eight beach cleans. Plastic accounted for 27.4% of the total weight collected. Even though Polystyrene was one of the smallest categories in terms of weight, in reality it was one of the most numerous items and accounts for a large proportion of litter on the transect. Figure 5-4-1 shows the breakdown of the average litter collected per week since the survey began in phase 092 (April-June 2009).

Average Rubbish Collected per Week
20 15 10 5 0 092 093 094 101 102 103 Phase 104 111 112 113 114 Other Polystyrene Medical Waste Metal Rope Natural Material Rubber Fabric Glass Plastic

Weight (kg)

Figure 5-4-1 Average Weight of Litter Collected per Week by Phase (Kg)

Since the survey began a total of 847.6kg of rubbish was collected from the beach, 50% of that was registered as plastic.

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Figure 5-4-2 Breakdown of rubbish collected since 092 to 114 in kg.

5.5 Discussion As has been the case for the majority of monitors, plastics have again constituted the largest volume of all the categories this phase. This could be due to its light weight making it easy to transport and its robustness against degradation. The fact that the level of plastic found is consistently high from phase to phase is a worrying trend as when plastics such as Polythene, found in plastic bags, breakdown they form small plastic particles that can contaminate the food web and be passed on through the trophic levels. Plastic debris can act like a sponge for toxic chemicals soaking up compounds such as PCB’s and DDE (a product from the breakdown of DDT). Once these are ingested into the food chain the high concentrations will be spread from organism to organism until the levels become fatal. Even though the data shows a large volume of rubbish being collected from a relatively small section of beach, it may be that the results do not do justice to the actual problem at hand. This is due to the seagrass bed situated alongside the monitoring area. As discussed above it is possible that during times of increased wind and wave action the volume of rubbish collected should show a marked increase. However this could be being masked by the large quantity of Thalassia testudinum that also gets washed up in these more extreme conditions burying the rubbish and hiding it from sight. In some areas the mound of dead blades can be as much as 75cm deep.

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This phase 28.1kg of waste was categorised as other, which includes materials such as oil, coal or two materials which were found together which therefore meant they couldn’t be counted separately.

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6. Bird Monitoring Programme
6.1 Introduction With regard to avi-fauna, Mexico, Central and South America can be divided into three distinct regions separated by mountain ranges: the Pacific slope, the Interior and the Atlantic slope. These regions can be further divided into other sub-zones, based on a variety of habitats. The Yucatan Peninsula lies on the Atlantic slope and is geographically very different from the rest of Mexico: it is a low-level limestone shelf on the east coast extending north into the Caribbean. The vegetation ranges from rainforest in the south to arid scrub environments in the north. The coastlines are predominantly sandy beaches but also include extensive networks of mangroves and lagoons, providing a wide variety of habitats capable of supporting large resident populations of birds. Due to the strategic location of the Yucatan peninsula, its population of resident breeders is significantly enlarged by seasonal migrants. There are four different types of migratory birds: winter visitors migrate south from North America during the winter (August to May); summer residents live and breed in Mexico but migrate to South America for the winter months; transient migrants are birds that breed in North America and migrate to South America in the winter but stop or pass through Mexico; and pelagic visitors, birds that live offshore but stop or pass through the region. Punta Gruesa is located near the town of Mahahual close to the Mexico/Belize border between a network of mangrove lagoons and the Caribbean Sea. The local area contains three key ecosystems; wetland, forest and marine environments. 6.2 Aims   Develop a species list for the area Record the abundance and diversity of bird species. Long-term bird data gathered over a sustained period could highlight trends not noticeable to short-term surveys.

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Educate the volunteers in bird identification techniques, expanding on their general identification skills. The birding project also provides a good opportunity to obtain a better understanding of area diversity and the ecosystem as a whole.

6.3 Methodology Bird monitoring surveys were conducted using a simple methodology based on the bird monitoring program at Pez Maya. A member of staff accompanied by volunteers monitor the transects daily between 6 and 8am. There were four transects - Beach south, Beach north, Road south and Road north. These transects were selected to cover a range of habitats, including coastline, mangroves, secondary growth and scrub. The transects were completed in approximately 30 minutes. To reduce duplication of data, recordings were taken in one direction only which also helps to avoid double-counting where individuals are very active or numerous. Birds were identified using binoculars, cameras and a range of identification books. Identification of calls was also possible for a limited number of species for experienced observers. If the individual species could not be identified then birds were recorded to family level. Each survey recorded the following information; locations, date, start time, end time, name of recorders and number of each species seen. Wind and cloud cover had also been recorded to allow consideration of physical parameters.

6.4 Results A total of 1166 birds were recorded during 41 transects this phase. 54 species were identified. The only new addition to the species list is the Olive throated Parakeet (Aratinga nana) (see Appendix VI).

141 Swallow individuals were recorded making up 12.1% of the birds recorded this phase. Sanderlings (Calidris alba) were the most commonly recorded to species level making up 10.1%. The second most commonly sighted species was the Royal tern (Sterna m. maxima), which made up 9.0%, followed by the Magnificent frigate bird (Fregata magnificens), with 6.9% of sightings.

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Figure 6-4-1 Most common bird species or families recorded during phase 114

A total of 13 581 birds were observed since 2009 when the survey began, with the highest record of 2615 individuals registered on phase 113 (July-September 2011).

A total of 54 species were registered during the time the survey was run. The most common species recorded was the Great-tailed grackle, followed by the Swallow sps. and the Tropical mockingbird.

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Figure 6-4-2 Species observed from 092 to 114.

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Table 6-4-1 Most common species recorded since 092 to 114.

Species Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) Swallow sp. Tropical Mockingbird ( Mimus gilvus) Magnificent Frigate (Fregata magnificens) Sanderling sp. Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

No. of individuals
3730 1660 847 812 685 653 614

6.5 Discussion Those species with relatively constant numbers across phases are most likely resident in the area, with only minor fluctuations among those species inclined to local migration for mating or feeding purposes. Great-tailed grackles, tropical mockingbirds and goldenfronted woodpeckers all fall into this category, being described as “resident breeders” (Howell & Webb 2004). Their numbers have fluctuated but have remained consistently high. This phase the great tailed grackle was uncommonly not the highest recorded species. During previous phases there has never been more than 80 swallows recorded per phase, until the phase of July-September 2011 when 1346 were recorded. Most of the recorded swallows were almost exclusively flying South so presumably they were migrating. According to Howell and Webb (2004) “Most species (of swallows) in the (Mexico) region are at least partial migrants and wintering areas are often not well defined”.

Great-tailed grackles and tropical mockingbirds are all resident breeders in the area and magnificent frigates and brown pelicans are described as common residents (Howell & Webb, 2004). This explains the constantly high numbers each phase.

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Royal terns, however, are described as being winter (non-breeding) visitors, as are sanderlings, which were the most common species during Phase 114. Royal terns were recorded every phase since the survey began, but their numbers were highest during the winter period Those species that were observed only at certain times of the year are most likely seasonal migrants, either moving into the area temporarily or simply moving through the region on their way to summer or wintering grounds elsewhere. These include the Sanderlings, plovers, similar species of shore-birds and warblers, many of which are resident only during the winter, moving further north to breed during the summer. The species list at Punta Gruesa was constantly expanding each phase as observers became more adept at seeing and identifying species and migrant species enter the area. Starting with 20 species registered when the first survey was done, Punta Gruesa staff and volunteers accomplished to identify up to 54 different bird species in the area (see Appendix VI).

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7. Seagrass Monitoring Programme
7.1 Introduction Phase 102 (April-June 2010) saw the implementation of a new survey program, focusing on the sea grass beds found adjacent to the beach at Punta Gruesa. The Pta Gruesa nearby shoreline is dominated by a shallow, almost continuous bed that stretches from the water’s edge to the back reef approximately half a kilometre away. It is characterised by two main species, Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme. The seagrass beds are an intrinsic part of the marine ecosystem providing not only shelter to juvenile reef fish but also helping to slow the water currents/movement in the lagoon, decreasing the levels of coastal erosion and providing favourable conditions for both the mangroves and reefs to grow. 7.2 Aims The aims of the project were to:    Determine the overall percentage coverage and species composition along three transect lines and to find out if these values change with proximity to the reef. Monitor the changes in seagrass coverage and species composition over time. Monitor the health of the seagrass bed by measuring blade length, predation and epiphyte cover. 7.3 Methodology In order to monitor the health of this ecosystem, three transects were set up; T1, T2 and T3 (T1 being closest to the beach and T3 being furthest away). Their positioning was based on relative distance from the edge of the bed and at a point of change in the biological composition of the bed.
Table 7-3-1 GPS positions for seagrass transects (Units in W GS 84 Format hddd.dddddo )

T1A T2A T3A

19.00810 087.58933 19.00785 087.58875 19.00748 087.58767

T1B T2B T3B

19.00790 087.58941 19.00765 087.58883 19.00724 087.58772

T1C T2C T3C

19.00770 087.58949 19.00744 087.58889 19.00703 087.58779

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Starting at point T1A (the most northerly point) a 1mx1m quadrat was laid on the shore side of the transect line and the following measurements were taken;    

Overall percentage cover. S. filiforme percentage cover. T. testudinum percentage cover On 20 random T. testudinum blades within each quadrat, blade length, signs of predation (yes or no) and percentage cover of epiphytes was recorded.

This was repeated at 5m intervals across the length of each transect giving ten repeats per transect. This methodology allows a rapid assessment of an otherwise uncharted area of seagrass in the Punta Gruesa area. Due to the fact that they play such a crucial ecological role in the health of the reef systems, as a result of the habitual symbiosis shared between seagrass beds, reefs and mangroves, it is important to monitor and assess the seagrass beds.

This methodology enabled GVI Mexico to obtain baseline data on the species composition, percentage cover and condition so that changes in the health and structure can be monitored over an extended period of time. accommodate for volunteers with limited training. 7.4 Results The average percentage cover of seagrass was found to be highest on the trans ect closest to the beach: transect 1 had 74.0% cover, transect 2 had 65.5% cover and transect 3 had 36.8% cover. Average T. testudinum cover is highest on the transect closest to the beach: transect 1 had 61.0% cover, transect 2 had 37.0% cover and transect 3 had 28.2% cover. T. testudinum was the dominant species on all three transects. The methodology is based on the methodology of seagrassnet.com (Short et al. 2006) with slight modifications to

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Average blade length of T. testudinum was found to be shortest on the transect furthest from the beach. On transect 1 it was found to be 12.9m, on transect 2 it was 16.7cm and on transect 3 it was 7.7cm.

7.5 Discussion T. testudinum has been found to be the more dominant species on all three transects every time the survey has been carried out. Williams (1987) observed a decline in S. filiforme shoot density as T. testudinum became dominant during temporal development and found that this was a result of exploitative competition primarily for sediment nutrients but also light. T. testudinum has a much greater leaf area for inception of light than S. filiforme. For example, a typical leaf width for T. testudinum is 1cm in contrast to just over 1mm for S. filiforme. Each time the transects were monitored, the T. testudinum on transect 3 (closest to the reef) has been found to have the shortest average blade length and the T. testudinum on transect 2 was found to have the longest blade length. Sweatman and Robertson (1994) found that T. testudinum provided minimal cover (for juvenile fish) near to the reef edge because the blades were grazed short. They found that blade length increased with distance from the reef edge. This could partially explain the pattern observed here. Average percentage cover of seagrass is highest on transect 1, which is closest to the beach, and lowest on transect 3, which is closest to the reef. This is due to a drop in T. testudinum cover. Sweatman & Robertson (1994) found that T. testudinum blade density was similar at all of their sample distances from the reef. It is possible that the density across the three transects at Punta Gruesa may be similar. There may appear to be a difference in percentage cover due to differences in average blade length discussed above.

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8. Summary
This is the last report produced with the data gathered in Punta Gruesa from January 2008 to December 2011. Due to different reasons the project will no longer be continued. During the time Punta Gruesa was running different sets of data were collected and analysed, some of the results were: *550 coral transects and 900 fish transects were done from January 2008 to December 2011. * The average coral cover over all phases was 10.46% while the macro algae cover was 66.34%. *Las Delicias (LD) was the site with the lowest coral cover (7.21%) while Las Joyas (LJ) registered the highest (14.84%). *The most common species of coral registered was Agaricia agaricites. * Only 5.2% of the colonies studied were suffering disease; the main disease was dark spot. *Sponge predation accounted for the majority of the records of predation on coral colonies. * 30.39% of the colonies studied on the coral communities’ survey presented bleaching, with Siderastrea siderea as the most common (generally with pale bleaching). * The highest numbers of colonies with bleaching where recorded during the last quarter of the year (October-December) with the exception of 2010 where the highest numbers were registered during the third quarter (July-September) *13,148 adult fish and 12,611 juvenile fish were recorded. * The average biomass registered from January 2008 to December 2011 was 3.87 kg 100 m -2 * Haemulidae was the most commonly recorded family over all phases, with 50.86% of the total number observed. * Stegastes partitus was, on average, the most abundant juvenile species recorded. *More than 250 children and adults received English lessons and Environmental Education. Punta Gruesa staff and volunteers participated in activities in town like the annual Beach clean on the International Clean up day, Project Aware Dive into Earth Day celebration, Jatsa Ha Festival, Mahahual Carnival, etc.

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* 2429 incidental sightings were registered, from those 304 were turtles, 1140 Elasmobranchs, 382 eels and 603 dolphins. The most common species were the Hawksbill turtle, the Southern stingray, the Spotted moray and the Bottlenose dolphin. * 1380 lionfish were recorded; the most abundant size was 16-20cm. * 847.6kg of rubbish was collected on 72 beach cleans, with plastic as the most common category registered. *A total of 13581 birds were identified on 54 different species, the most common one was the Great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus).

Thank you very much to all the volunteers and the staff that made this work possible. All the data gathered has been given to our local partners Amigos de Sian Ka’an who will continue with further analysis and implementation of the conclusions gathered from the monitoring effort.

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9. References
AGRRA (2005) Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) Field Guide to Indicators of Coral Reef Health AGRRA (2000) Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA). The AGRRA Rapid Assessment Protocol. http://www.agrra.org/method/methodhome.htm

Almada-Villela P.C., Sale P.F., Gold-Bouchot G. Kjerfve B. (2003) Manual of Methods for the MBRS Synoptic Monitoring System: Selected Methods for Monitoring Physical and Biological Parameters for Use in the Mesoamerican Region. Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Systems Project (MBRS). Deloach, N. and Humann, P. (1999) Reef fish behaviour: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications. Artegrafica. Verona, Italy. Franklin, J. L. (2008) Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Dean. National Hurricane Centre

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/TCR-AL042007_Dean.pdf
Gardener, T.A., Cote, I.M., Gill, J.A., Grant, A., Watkinson, A.R. (2003) Long-term regionwide declines in Caribbean corals. Science 301: 958-960. Howell, S. N. G., and Webb, S. (2004) A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press Inc., New York Morris, J. A. Jr., Shertzer, K.W., Rice, J.A. (2010) A Stage-Based Matrix Population Model of Invasive Lionfish with Implications for Control. Biol Invasions, DOI10.1007/s10530-0109786-8 McClanahan, T.R., Muthiga, N.A. (1998) An ecological shift in a remote coral atoll of Belize over 25 years. Environmental Conservation 25: 122-130.

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Rogers, C. S. and Miller, J. (2006) Permanent ´phase shifts´ or reversible declines in coral cover? Lack of recovery of two coral reefs in St John, US Virg in Islands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 306: 103-14 Short, F.T., McKenzie, L.J., Coles, R.G., Vidler, K.P., Gaeckle, J.L. (2006) SeagrassNet Manual for Scientific Monitoring of Seagrass Habitat, Worldwide edition. University of New Hampshire Publication. 75 pp. Spalding, M.D., Jarvis, G.E. (2002). The impact of the 1998 coral mortality on reef fish communities in the Seychelles. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44: 309-321. Sweatman, H. & Robertson, D. R. (1994) Grazing halos and predation on juvenile Caribbean surgeonfishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Volume 111: 1-6 UNEP-WCMC (2006). In the front line: shoreline protection and other ecosystem services from mangroves and coral reefs. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK. Wilkinson, C. (2008) Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Townsville, Australia Williams, S. L. (1987) Competition between the seagrasses Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme in a Caribbean lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Volume 35: 91-98

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10. Appendices
Appendix I – SMP Methodology Outlines Buddy method 1: Surveys of corals, algae and other sessile organisms At each monitoring site five replicate 30m transect lines are deployed randomly within 100m of the GPS point. The transect line is laid across the reef surface at a constant depth, usually perpendicular to the reef slope. The first diver of this monitoring buddy pair collects data on the characterisation of the coral community under the transect line. Swimming along the transect line the diver identifies, to species level, each hermatypic coral directly underneath the transect that is at least 10cm at its widest point and in the original growth position. If a colony has been knocked or has fallen over, it is only recorded if it has become reattached to the substratum. The diver also records the water depth at the beginning and end of each transect. The diver then identifies the colony boundaries based on verifiable connective or common skeleton. Using a measuring pole, the colonies projected diameter (live plus dead areas) in plan view and maximum height (live plus dead areas) from the base of the colonies substratum are measured. From plane view perspective, the percentage of coral that is not healthy (separated into old dead and recent dead) is also estimated. The first diver also notes any cause of mortality including diseases, predation and any bleached tissue present. The diseases are characterised using the following categories: Black band disease White band disease White plague Dark spot disease Red band disease Hyperplasm and Neoplasm (irregular growths) Dark spot disease

Yellow blotch disease Unknown

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Predation and overgrowth are also recorded on each of the coral colonies. The following categories are considered: Parrotfish predation Damselfish predation Fireworm predation Short coral snail predation Overgrowing mat tunicate Variable boring sponge Fire coral predation Gorgonian overgrowth Zoanthid overgrowth Coralline algae overgrowth Sponge overgrowth Cliona sp.

Bleaching is described as either pale, partial of total using the following definitions: Pale – the majority of the colony is pale compared to the original colour of the coral Partial – the colony has a significant amount of patchy white areas Total – all, or almost all, of the colony is white Any other features of note are also recorded, including, orange icing sponge, coral competition and Christmas tree worms. The second diver measures the percentage cover of sessile organisms and substrate along the 30m transect, recording the nature of the substrate or organism directly every 25cm along the transect. Organisms are classified into the following groups: Coralline algae - crusts or finely branched algae that are hard (calcareous) Turf algae - may look fleshy and/or filamentous but do not rise more than 1cm above the substrate Macroalgae - include fleshy and calcareous algae whose fronds are projected more than 1cm above the substrate. Three of these are further classified into additional groups which include Halimeda, Dictyota, and Lobophora Gorgonians Hermatypic corals - to species level, where possible Bare rock, sand and rubble Any other sessile organisms e.g. sponges, tunicates, zoanthids and hydroids.

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Buddy method 2: Belt transect counts for coral reef fish At each monitoring site 8 replicate 30m transects lines are deployed randomly within 100m of the GPS point. The transect line is laid just above the reef surface at a constant depth, usually perpendicular to the reef slope. The first diver is responsible for swimming slowly along the transect line identifying, counting and estimating the sizes of specific indicator fish species in their adult phase. The diver visually estimates a two metre by two metre ‘corridor’ and carries a one meter T-bar divided into 10cm graduations to aid the accuracy of the size estimation of the fish identified. The fish are assigned to the following size categories: 0-5cm 6-10cm 11-20cm 21-30cm 31-40cm >40cm (with size specified)

The buddy pair then waits for three minutes at a short distance from the end of the transect line before proceeding. This allows juvenile fish to return to their original positions before they were potentially scared off by the divers during the adult transect. The second diver swims slowly back along the transect surveying a one metre by one metre ‘corridor’ and identifying and counting the presence of newly settled fish of the target species. In addition, it is also this diver’s responsibility to identify and count the Banded Shrimp, Stenopus hispidus. This is a collaborative effort with UNAM to track this species as their population is slowly dwindling due to their direct removal for the aquarium trade. The juvenile diver also counts any Diadema antillarum individuals found on their transects. This is aimed at tracking the slow come back of these urchins. Buddy Method 3: Coral & Fish Rover divers At each monitoring site the third buddy pair completes a thirty minute survey of the site. This is carried out using a search pattern appropriate to the site but is usually a U-shaped pattern. The first diver records all adult fish species observed. The approximate density of each fish species is categorised using the following numerations:

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Single Few Many Abundant

(1 fish) (2-10 fish) (11-100 fish) (>100 fish)

The second diver swims alongside the Fish Rover diver and records, to species level, all coral communities observed, regardless of size. The approximate density of each coral species is then categorised using similar ranges to those for fish: Single Few Many Abundant (1 community) (2-10 communities) (11-50 communities) (>50 communities)

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Appendix II - Adult Fish Indicator Species List
The following list includes only the adult fish species that are surveyed during monitoring dives.

Scientific Name Acanthurus coeruleus, Acanthurus bahianus, Acanthurus chirurgus, Chaetodon striatus, Chaetodon capistratus, Chaetodon ocellatus, Chaetodon aculeatus, Haemulon flavolineatum Haemulon striatum Haemulon plumierii Haemulon sciurus Haemulon carbonarium Haemulon chrysargyreum Haemulon aurolineat um Haemulon melanurum Haemulon macrostomum Haemulon parra Haemulon album Anisotremus virginicus Anisotremus surinamensis Lutjanus analis Lutjanus griseus Lutjanus cyanopterus Lutjanus jocu Lutjanus mahogoni Lutjanus apodus Lutjanus synagris Ocyurus chrysurus Holac anthus ciliaris Pomacanthus paru Pomacanthus arcuatus Holac anthus tricolour Scarus coeruleus Scarus coelestinus

Common Name Blue Tang Ocean Surgeonfish Doctorfish Banded Butterflyfish Four Eye Butterflyfis h Spotfin Butterflyfish Longsnout Butterfly fish Frenc h Grunt Striped Grunt White Grunt Bluestriped Grunt Caes ar Grunt Smallmouth Grunt Tomtate Cottonwick Spanish Grunt Sailor’s Choice White Margate Porkfish Black Margate Mutton Snapper Gray Snapper Cubera Snapper Dog Snapper Mahaogany Snapper Schoolmaster Lane Snapper Yellowtail Snapper Queen Angelfish Frenc h Angelfish Grey Angelfish Rock Beauty Blue Parrotfish Midnight Parrotfish

Scientific Name Scarus guac amaia Scarus vetula Sparisoma viride Scarus taeniopterus Scarus iserti Sparisoma aurofrenatum Sparisoma chrysopterum Sparisoma rubripinne Sparisoma atomarium Sparisoma radians Epinephelus itajara Epinephelus striatus Mycteroperca venenosa Mycteroperca bonaci Mycteroperca tigris Mycteroperca interstitialis Epinephelus guttatus Epinephelus adscensionis Cephalopholis cruentatus Cephalopholis fulvus Balistes vetula Balistes capriscus Cant hidermis sufflamen Xanithichthys ringens Melichthys niger Aluterus scriptus Cant herhines pullus Cant herhines macrocerus Bodianus rufus Lachnolaimus maximus Caranx rubber Microspathodon chrysurus Sphyraena barracuda

Common Name Rainbow Parrot fish Queen Parrot fish Stoplight Parrot fish Princess Parrot fish Striped Parrotfish Redband Parrot fish Redt ail Parrotfish Yellowtail Parrotfish Greenblotch Parrotfish Bucktooth Parrotfish Goliath Grouper Nassau Grouper Yellowfin Grouper Black Grouper Tiger Grouper Yellowmouth Grouper Red Hind Rock Hind Graysby Coney Queen Triggerfish Gray Triggerfish Ocean Triggerfish Sargassum Triggerfish Black Durgon Scrawled Filefish Oranges potted Filefish Whitespotted Filefish Spanish Hogfish Hogfish Bar Jack Yellowtail Damselfish Great Barracuda

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Appendix III - Juvenile Fish Indicator Species List The subsequent list specifies the juvenile fish species and their maximum target length that are recorded during monitoring dives
Scientific Name Acanthurus bahianus Acanthurus coeruleus Chaetodon capi stratus Chaetodon stri atus Gramma loreto Bodianus rufus Halichoeres bi vittatus Halichoeres garnoti Halichoeres m aculipinna Thalassoma bifasciatum Halichoeres pi ctus Chromi s cyanea Stegastes adustus Stegastes diencaeus Stegastes leucosti ctus Stegastes partitus Stegastes planifrons Stegastes variabili s Scarus i serti Scarus taeniopterus Spari soma atomarium Spari soma aurofrenatum Spari soma viride Common Name Ocean surgeonfish Blue tang Foureye butterfly fish Banded butterflyfish Fairy basslet Spanish hogfish Slipperydick Yellowhead wrasse Clown wrasse Bluehead wrasse Rainbow wrasse Blue chromis Dusky damselfis h Longfin dams elfish Beaugregory Bicolour damselfish Threespot damselfis h Cocoa damselfish Striped parrot fish Princess parrotfish Greenblotch parrotfish Redband parrotfish Stoplight parrotfish Max. target length (cm) 5 5 2 2 3 3.5 3 3 3 3 3 3.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

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Appendix IV - Coral Species List

Family
Acroporidae Acroporidae Acroporidae Agariciidae Agariciidae Agariciidae Agariciidae Agariciidae Agariciidae Agariciidae Antipatharia Astrocoeniidae Caryophylliidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae Fa viidae

Genus
Acropora Acropora Acropora Agaricia Agaricia Agaricia Agaricia Agaricia Agaricia Helioceris Cirrhipathes Stephanocoenia Eusmilia Colpophyllia Diploria Diploria Diploria Favia Manicina Montastraea Montastraea Montastraea Montastraea Solenastrea Solenastrea

Species
cervicornis palmata prolifera agaricites fragilis grahamae lamarcki tenuifolia undata cucullata leutkeni intersepts fastigiana natans clivosa lab rynthiformis strigosa fragum areolata annularis cavernosa faveolata franksi bournoni hyades

Family
Meandrinidae Meandrinidae Meandrinidae Milliporidae Milliporidae Mussidae Mussidae Mussidae Mussidae Mussidae Mussidae Mussidae Mussidae Pocilloporidae Pocilloporidae Pocilloporidae Pocilloporidae Poritidae Poritidae Poritidae Poritidae Siderastridae Siderastridae Stylasteridae

Genus
Dendrogyra Dichocoenia Meandrina Millepora Millepora Isophyllastrea Isophyllia Mussa Mycetophyllia Mycetophyllia Mycetophyllia Mycetophyllia Scolymia Madracis Madracis Madracis Madracis Porites Porites Porites Porites Siderastrea Siderastrea Stylaster

Species
cylindrus stokesii meandrites alcicornis complanata rigida sinuosa angulosa aliciae ferox lamarckiana reesi sp. decactis formosa mirab ilis pharensis astreoides divaricata furcata porites radians sidereal roseus

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Appendix V - Fish Species List

This list was begun for Mahahual in April 2004. This list is compiled from the Adult and Rover diver surveys.
Family Acanthuridae Acanthuridae Acanthuridae Engraulididae Aulostomidae Balistidae Balistidae Balistidae Balistidae Balistidae Bothidae Carangidae Carangidae Carangidae Carangidae Centropomidae Chaenopsidae Chaetodontidae Chaetodontidae Chaetodontidae Chaetodontidae Chaetodontidae Cirrhitidae Congridae Dasyatidae Aulostomus Balistes Balistes Canthidermis Melichthys Xanithichthys Bothus Caranx Caranx Caranx Trachinotus Centropomus Lucayablennius Chaetodon Chaetodon Chaetodon Chaetodon Chaetodon Amblycirrhitus Heteroconger Dasyatis Genus Acanthurus Acanthurus Acanthurus Species Bahianus Chirurgus Coeruleus Common Names Ocean surgeonfish Doctorfish Blue tang

Atherinidae, Clupeidae, Silversides, Herrings, Anchovies Maculates Capriscus Vetula Sufflamen Niger Ringens Lunatus Bartholomaei Crysos Ruber Falcatus Undecimalis Zingaro Aculeatus Capistratus Ocellatus Sedentarius Striatus Pinos Longissimus Americana Trumpetfish Gray triggerfish Queen triggerfish Ocean triggerfish Black durgon Sargassum triggerfish Peacock flounder Yellow jack Blue runner Bar jack Permit Common snook Arrow blenny Longsnout butterflyfish Foureye butterflyfish Spotfin butterflyfish Reef butterflyfish Banded butterflyfish Red spotted hawkfish Brown garden eel Southern stingray

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Family Diodontidae Elopidae Gobiidae Gobiidae Gobiidae Gobiidae Gobiidae Gobiidae Gobiidae Grammatidae Grammatidae Grammatidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Haemulidae Holocentridae Holocentridae Holocentridae Holocentridae Holocentridae Holocentridae Holocentridae Kyphosidae Labridae

Genus Diodon Megalops Coryphopterus Coryphopterus Coryphopterus Coryphopterus Gnatholepis Gobiosoma Gobiosoma Gramma Gymnothorax Gymnothorax Anisotremus Haemulon Haemulon Haemulon Haemulon Haemulon Haemulon Haemulon Haemulon Anisotremus Haemulon Holocentrus Holocentrus Myripristis Neoniphon Sargocentron Sargocentron Sargocentron Kyphosus Bodianus

Species Holocanthus Atlanticus Eidolon Glaucofraenum Lipernes

Common Names Balloonfish Tarpon Palid Goby Bridled goby Peppermint goby

personatus/hyalinus Masked/glass goby Thompsoni Oceanops Prochilos Loreto Funebris Moringa Virginicus Album Aurolineatum Carbonarium Flavolineatum Macrostomum Plumierii Sciurus Striatum Surinamensis Parra Adscensionis Rufus Jacobus Marianus Bullisi Coruscum Vexillarium sectatrix/incisor Rufus Goldspot goby Neon goby. Broadstripe goby Fairy basslet Green moray Spotted moray Porkfish White margate Tomtate Ceaser Grunt French grunt Spanish grunt White grunt Bluestriped grunt Striped grunt Black margate Sailor’s choice Squirrelfish Longspine squirrelfish Blackbar soldierfish Longjaw squirrelfish Deepwater squirrelfish Reef squirrelfish Dusky squirrelfish Chub Spanish hogfish

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Family Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labridae Labrisomidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Lutjanidae Malacanthidae Syngnathidae Monacanthidae Monacanthidae Monacanthidae Mullidae Mullidae Myliobatidae Opistognathidae Ostraciidae Ostraciidae Ostraciidae Pempheridae

Genus Clepticus Halichoeres Halichoeres Halichoeres Halichoeres Halichoeres Lachnolaimus Thalassoma Xyrichtys Xyrichtys Malacoctenus Lutjanus Lutjanus Lutjanus Lutjanus Lutjanus Lutjanus Lutjanus Ocyurus Malacanthus Micrognathus Aluterus Cantherhines Cantherhines Mulloidichthys Pseudupeneus Aetobatus Opistognathus Acanthostracion Lactophrys Lactophrys Pempheris

Species Parrae Bivittatus Garnoti Pictus Poeyi Radiatus Maximus Bifasciatum Martinicensis Novacula Triangulatus Analis Apodus Cyanopterus Griseus Jocu Mahogoni Synagris Chrysurus Plumieri ensenadae Scriptus Macrocerus Pullus Martinicus Maculates Narinari Aurifrons Quadricornis Bicaudalis Triqueter Schomburgki

Common Names Creole wrasse Slipperydick Yellowhead wrasse Rainbow wrasse Blackear wrasse Puddingwife wrasse Hogfish Bluehead wrasse Rosy razorfish Pearly razorfish Saddled blenny Mutton snapper Schoolmaster snapper Cubera snapper Grey snapper Dog snapper Maghogony snapper Lane snapper Yellowtailed snapper Sand tilefish Harlequin pipefish Scrawled filefish White spotted filefish Orange spotted filefish Yellow goatfish Spotted goatfish Spotted eagle ray Yellowhead jawfish Scrawled cowfish Spotted trunkfish Smooth trunkfish Glassy sweeper

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Family Pomacanthidae Pomacanthidae Pomacanthidae Pomacanthidae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Pomacentridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Scaridae Sciaenidae Sciaenidae Sciaenidae Scombridae

Genus Holacanthus Holacanthus Pomacanthus Pomacanthus Abudefduf Chromis Chromis Chromis Chromis Microspathodon Stegastes Stegastes Stegastes Stegastes Stegastes Stegastes Scarus Scarus Scarus Scarus Scarus Scarus Sparisoma Sparisoma Sparisoma Sparisoma Sparisoma Sparisoma Equetus Equetus Pareques

Species Ciliaris Tricolour Arcuatus Paru Saxatilis Cyanea Enchrysurus Insolata Multilineata Chrysurus Adustus Diencaeus Leucostictus Partitus Planifrons Variabilis Coelestinus Coeruleus Guacamaia Iserti Taeniopterus Vetula Atomarium Aurofrenatum Chrysopterum Radians Rubripinne Viride Lanceolatus Punctatus Acuminatus

Common Names Queen angelfish Rockbeauty Grey angelfish French angelfish Seargant major Blue chromis Yellowtail reef fish Sunshinefish Brown chromis Yellowtailed damsel fish Dusky damselfish Longfin damselfish Beaugregory Bicolour damselfish Threespot damselfish Cocoa damselfish Midnight parrotfish Blue parrotfish Rainbow parrotfish Striped parrotfish Princess parrotfish Queen parrotfish Greenblotch parrotfish Redband parrotfish Redtail parrotfish Bucktooth parrotfish Yellowtail parrotfish Stoplight parrotfish Jackknife fish Spotted drum Highhat Spanish mackerel

Scomberomorus Maculates

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Family Scombridae Scorpaenidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Serranidae Sparidae Sphyraenidae Synodontidae Tetraodontidae Tetraodontidae Torpedinidae Urolophidae

Genus

Species

Common Names Cero Spotted scorpionfish Graysby Coney Rockhind Red hind grouper Goliath grouper Nassau grouper Yellowbelly hamlet Yellowtail hamlet Shy hamlet Indigo hamlet Black hamlet Barred hamlet Butter hamlet Peppermint basslet Black grouper Yellowmouth grouper Tiger grouper Yellowfin grouper Creolefish Greater soapfish Tobaccofish Harlequin bass Chalk bass Saucereyed porgy Great barracuda Sand diver Sharpnosed puffer Bandtail puffer Lesser electric ray Yellowstingray

Scomberomorus Regalis Scorpaena Cephalopholis Cephalopholis Epinephelus Epinephelus Epinephelus Epinephelus Hypoplectrus Hypoplectrus Hypoplectrus Hypoplectrus Hypoplectrus Hypoplectrus Hypoplectrus Liopropoma Mycteroperca Mycteroperca Mycteroperca Mycteroperca Paranthias Rypticus Serranus Serranus Serranus Calamus Sphyraena Synodus Canthigaster Sphoeroides Narcine Urolophus Plumieri Cruentatus Fulvus Adscensionis Guttatus Itajara Striatus Aberrans Chlorurus Guttavarius Indigo Nigricans Puella Unicolor Rubre Bonaci Interstitialis Tigris Venenosa Furcifer Saponaceus Tabacarius Tigrinus Tortugarum Calamos Barracuda Intermedius Rostrata Splengleri Brasiliensis Jamaicensis

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Appendix VI a - Bird Species List Bird species identified to species level in Punta Gruesa since April 2009. Common Name Altamira Oriole Bat Falcon Black Tern Black Vulture Black-backed Oriole Black-bellied Plover Black-cowled Oriole Black-crowned Tityra Black-headed Trogon Bronzed Cowbird Brown Pelican Canivet's Emerald Hummingbird Cattle Egret Common Black Hawk Dusky Capped Flycatcher Eastern Kingbird Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Golden-fronted Woodpecker Great Black Hawk Great Blue Heron Great Egret Great Kiskadee Great-tailed Grackle Green Heron Green Jay Green Kingfisher Grey Kingbird Groove-billed Ani Hooded Oriole Killdeer Laughing Falcon Laughing Gull Least Tern Lineated Woodpecker Little Blue Heron Magnificent Frigatebird Mangrove Vireo Mangrove Warbler Family Icteridae Falconidae Sternidae Cathartidae Icteridae Charadriidae Icteridae Cotingidae Trogonidae Icteridae Pelecanidae Trochilidae Ardeidae Accipitridae Tryrannidae Tyrannidae Strigidae Picidae Accipitridae Ardeidae Ardeidae Tyrannidae Icteridae Ardeidae Corvidae Alcedinidae Tyrannidae Cuculidae Icteridae Charadriidae Falconidae Laridae Laridae Picidae Ardeidae Fregatidae Vireonidae Parulinae Scientific Name Icterus gularis Falco rufigularis Chlidonias niger Coragyps atratus Icterus abeilli or bullockii Pluvialis squatarola Icterus dominicensis Tityra inquisitor Trogon m. melanocephalus Molothrus aeneus Pelecanus occidentalis Chlorostilbon canivetii Bubulcus ibis Buteogallus anthracinus Myiarchus tuberculifer Tyrannus tyrannus Glaucidium brasilianum Centurus aurifrons Buteogallus urubitinga ridgwayi Ardea herodias Egretta alba egretta Pitangus sulphuratus Quiscalus mexicanus Butorides virescens Cyanocorax yncas Chloroceryle americana Tyrannus d. dominicensis Crotophaga sulcirostris Icterus cucullatus Charadrius v. vociferus Herpetotheres cachinnans Larus atricilla Sterna antillarum Dryocopus lineatus Egretta caerulea Fregata magnificens Vireo pallens Dendroica erithachorides

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Common Name Masked Tityra Neotropic Cormorant Olive throated Parakeet Osprey Palm Warbler Plain Chachalaca Purple Martin Roseate Spoonbill Royal Tern Ruddy Ground-Dove Ruddy Turnstone Sanderling Semipalmated Plover Snowy Egret Social Flycatcher Spotted Sandpiper Swainson´s warbler Swallow-tailed Kite Tropical Kingbird Tropical Mockingbird Turkey Vulture White-eyed vireo White Ibis White-tipped dove White-winged Dove Willet Wilson's Plover Yellow Warbler Yellow-backed Oriole Yellow-throated Vireo Yellow-throated Warbler Yucatan Flycatcher

Family Cotingidae Phalacrocoracidae Psittacidae Accipitridae Parulinae Cracidae Progne Threskiornithidae Laridae Columbidae Scolopacidae Scolopacidae Charadriidae Ardeidae Tyrannidae Scolopacidae Parulinae Accipitridae Tyrannidae Mimidae Cathartidae Vireonidae Threskiornithidae Columbidae Columbidae Scolopacidae Charadriidae Parulinae Icteridae Vireonidae Parulinae Tyrannidae

Scientific Name Tityra semifasciata Phalacrocorax brasilianus Aratinga nana Pandion haliaetus Dendroica palmarum Ortalis vetula Progne subis Platalea ajaja Sterna m. maxima Columbina talpacoti Arenaria interpres Calidris alba Charadrius semipalmatus Egretta thula Myiozetetes similis Actitis macularia Helmitheros swainsonii Elanoides forficatus Tyrannus melancholicus Mimus gilvus Cathartes aura Vireo griseus Eudocimus albus Leptotila verreauxi Zenaida asiatica Catoptrophorus semipalmatus Charadrius wilsonia Dendroica petechia Icterus chrysater Vireo hypochryseus Dendroica dominica Myiarchus yucatanensis

Appendix VI b - Bird Species List Birds identified to family / genus in Punta Gruesa since April 2009. Ani sp. Dove sp. Heron sp. Sandpiper sp. Calidris sp. Egret sp. Kingbird sp. Sheerwater sp. Cormorant sp. Flycatcher sp. Kingfisher sp. Sparrow sp. Cowbird sp. Gull sp. Oriole sp. Swallow sp. Cuckoo sp. Hawk sp. Plover sp. Swift sp.

Tern sp. Trogon sp. Vireo sp. Vulture sp. Warbler sp. Woodpecker sp.

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