The Reef Fish Assemblage of Bonaire Marine Park: An Analysis of REEF Fish Survey Data
The REEF/TNC Fish Survey Project is a volunteer fish monitoring program developed by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) with support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC). REEF volunteers collect fish distribution and log scale abundance data for the project using a standardized visual method. These data are housed in a publicly accessible database on REEF’s Website (http://www.reef.org). To date, the REEF database contains over 19,000 surveys from approximately 1,800 sites in the tropical western Atlantic region. The standardized census method provides a consistency in data collection applied over a wide geographic range. Such a database represents a valuable tool for marine resource managers. REEF data are currently being used by a number of marine parks and resource agencies for assessment and long- term monitoring, including the Bonaire Marine Park (BMP; Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles). Between December 1993 and July 1999, approximately 2,000 fish surveys have been completed by REEF volunteers on the reefs of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. From these data, a total of 362 species were reported from 77 sites surveyed, making Bonaire one of the most species rich locations in REEF's database. Similarity and ordination analysis on a sub-set of sites indicated that fish assemblages on Klein Bonaire were distinct from those on Bonaire. Sites within the two Bonaire research reserves appeared distinct from other Bonaire sites. This paper provides the most comprehensive species list to date for the BMP. In addition, this established database will act as a baseline against which future change can be assessed.