Increased recruitment rates indicate recovering populations of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum on Curaçao
Recruitment of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum philippi, 1845 was studied on artificial recruitment panels along the leeward coast of the island of Curaçao, southern Caribbean. data were compared with historical data from the same coast that were collected before (1982–1983) and after (1984) the Caribbean-wide mass mortality of Diadema in October 1983. Average recruitment rates observed in 2005 were equal to 2.2 times lower compared to those observed before the D. antillarum die-off (1982 and 1983), but 56.5 times higher than those observed after the die-off in 1984. The increase in recruitment rates between 1984 and 2005 was 5–51 times greater than the increase in abundance of adult individuals over the same period. This suggests that despite the largely recovered recruitment rates of this important reef herbivore, unknown sources of high post-settlement mortality currently prevent a similar recovery of its adult population.