Home > Explore Data & Reports > Temporal Trends in Reef Fish Assemblages inside Virgin Islands National Park and around St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1988-2006


Friedlander, A.M., and J. Beets. 2008. Temporal Trends in Reef Fish Assemblages inside Virgin Islands National Park and around St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1988-2006. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 70. Silver Spring, MD. 60 pp.

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


This report is a result of long-term fish monitoring studies supported by the National Park Service (NPS) at the Virgin Islands National Park since 1988 and is now a joint NPS and NOAA collaboration. Reef fish monitoring data collected from 1988 to 2006 within Virgin Islands National Park (VINP) and adjacent reefs around St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) were analyzed to provide information on the status of reef fishes during the monitoring period. Monitoring projects were initiated by the National Park Service (NPS) in the 1980s to provide useful data for evaluation of resources and for development of a long-term monitoring program. Monthly monitoring was conducted at two reef sites (Yawzi Point and Cocoloba Cay) starting in November 1988 for 2.5 years to document the monthly/seasonal variability in reef fish assemblages. This report provides: 1) an evaluation of sampling methods, sample size, and methods used during the sampling period, 2) an evaluation of the spatial and temporal variability in reef fish assemblages at selected reef sites inside and outside of VINP, and 3) an evaluation of trends over 17 years of monitoring at the four reference sites. Comparisons of methods were conducted to standardize assessments among years. Several methods were used to evaluate sample size requirements for reef fish monitoring and the results provided a statistically robust justification for sample allocation. The analysis of reef fish data included in this report provides evidence for two alarming conditions, both of which are important for resource management in VINP. 1) Reef fish assemblages within Virgin Islands National Park are not significantly different than assemblages outside park boundaries. 2) Several species, including some of the most abundant species, demonstrated substantial declines in abundance and frequency of occurrence over the past decade.

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