The results of this study demonstrate that reserves can enhance coral recovery. In this study, the authors evaluated coral population dynamics to determine if reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes in a reserve result in a faster recovery rate of coral than in areas open to fishing pressure. Looking at 10 sites inside and outside a Bahamian reserve over 2. 5 years, they found that macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time and that increases in coral cover were significantly higher at the reserve sites than in the non-reserve sites. This study provide justification that the conservation of herbivores inside marine reserves can benefit coral recovery and build coral resilience.
Author: Mumby, P.J. and A.R. Harborne
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PLoS ONE 5(1): e8657. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008657