Abstract

Few monitoring programs have simultaneously assessed the dynamics of linked marine ecosystems (coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves) to document their temporal and spatial variability. Based on CARICOMP protocol we evaluated permanent stations in coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves from 1993 to 2008 in Chengue Bay at the Tayrona Natural Park, Colombian Caribbean. Overall, the studied ecosystems showed a remarkable stability pattern over the monitoring period. While there were annual variations in coral reefs (coral cover) and mangroves (litterfall) caused by hurricane Lenny in 1999, particular trends in seagrass (leaf area index and leaf productivity) appear to reflect the natural variability in this ecosystem. We suggest that monitoring sites at the three marine ecosystems had in general a healthy development in the last 16 years. Our results are critical to locally improve the management strategies (Tayrona Natural Park) and to understand the long-term dynamics of closely associated marine ecosystems in the Caribbean.
Keywords: monitoring, coral reef, seagrass, mangrove, Chengue, CARICOMP, Colombian Caribbean