Abstract

The coral reefs at Cahuita National Park, Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, specifically at the CARICOMP site Meager Shoal, have been monitored since 1999. Complete data sets from 2000 and 2004 have shown that live coral cover has increased less than 3 % (from 15 to 17 %), but non-coralline algae cover has increased much (63 to 74 %) and coralline algae cover has decreased (17 to 5 %) significantly. The proportion of affected colonies by diseases, injuries and bleaching decreased from 24 % in 2000 to 10 % in 2004, but the difference was not statistically significant. Densities of the urchin Diadema antillarum increased, and are probably help to maintain the macroalgae biomass low, while those of chinometra viridis decreased significantly. The coral reef at Cahuita National Park continues to be impacted by chronic terrigenous sediments and does not show a significant recovery since the late 1970’s.