Scientists Complete Biannual Survey for Long-term Monitoring of the Coral Reef Ecosystems around Buck Island, St Croix, USVI
Scientists from NCCOS recently returned from their biannual research mission to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, March 1-14, 2009, where they continued to evaluate the health of coral reef resources both inside and outside the boundaries of the Buck Island Reef National Monument and East End Marine Park.
With support from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, NCCOS staff collaborated with staff from the National Park Service (NPS), the NPS South Florida/Caribbean Network, the Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy and local volunteers to gather information on the distribution and abundance of fishes, lobster, long-spined sea urchin and conch, as well as benthic composition in and around the waters of the Marine Park. The data collected is available online at http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coralreef/reef_fish/.
Due to the recent interest in and confirmed sightings of the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish around St. Croix, it is worth noting that no lionfish were seen on fish transects and roving diver surveys during this mission. These results suggest the geographic distribution of lionfish has not yet expanded into the Buck Island Reef National Monument or adjacent coral reefs. For additional information, visit http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coralreef/reef_fish/