Ecological effects of Diadema mass mortality. [Draft #1]

This discussion topic submitted by Jamie Engman ( at 5:00 pm on 3/3/00. Additions were last made on Monday, November 26, 2001.

In 1983, an unprecedented, Caribbean-wide dieoff of the urchin Diadema antillarum occurred. Densities of this herbivore decreased drastically in reef environments throughout the region. The resulting reduction in grazing pressure has been implicated in a significant increase in algal cover on coral reefs. Recovery from the dieoff has been limited. Many questions remain unanswered.

I. Introduction: Diadema ecology and life history
II. The Mortality Event
III. Ecosystem Effects
IV. Questions Remaining

Hughes, T.P. 1994. Catastrophes, Phase Shifts, and Large-Scale Degradation of a Caribbean Coral Reef. Science 265:1547-1551.

Jackson, J.B.C. 1997. Reefs since Columbus. Proc. 8th Int. Coral Reef Symp. 1:97-106.

Lessios, H.A. 1988. Mass Mortality of Diadema antillarum in the Caribbean: What have we learned? Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 19:371-393.

Lessios, H. A. 1995. Diadema antillarum 10 years after mass mortality: Still rare, despite help from a competitor. Proc. Royal Soc. London Ser. B. 259: 331-337.

McClanahan, T. R. and N.A. Muthiga. 1998. An ecological shift in a remote coral atoll of Belize over 25 years. Envir. Conserv. 25: 122-130.

Yoshioka, Paul M. 1996. Variable recruitment and its effects on the population and community structure of shallow-water gorgonians. Bull. Mar. Sci. 59: 433-443.

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