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Using Biocriteria within a Biological Condition Gradient Framework to assess Ecosystem Health for the protection and restoration of Coral Reefs
Santavy, Debbie, P. Bradley, J. Gerritsen, S. Jackson, AND W. Fisher. Using Biocriteria within a Biological Condition Gradient Framework to assess Ecosystem Health for the protection and restoration of Coral Reefs. Presented at Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portlant, OR, May 18 - 23, 2014.
Abstract submitted for presentation at JASM 2014, May in Portland, OR. in special session convened by US EPA Office of Water entitled Ecological targets for water quality management.
Under authority of the Clean Water Act, EPA is committed to protecting the biological integrity of the Nation’s coastal marine habitats, including mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs. Coral reef scientists with expertise in reef taxonomic groups (e.g., stony corals, fishes, sponges, gorgonians, algae), community structure, organism condition, ecosystem function and ecosystem connectivity are developing a framework that illustrates a range of biological responses that can result from human disturbance – the Coral Reef Biological Condition Gradient (BCG). The scientists are establishing levels of condition, with a consistent well-defined narrative for each level, and a process for translating specific metric scores into levels. Levels can be aligned with designated aquatic life uses in water quality standards and can be used as targets for protection and restoration. The experts have defined biological integrity (or natural condition) for reefs in Puerto Rico, which will serve as a non-shifting baseline condition. Managers can use the framework to determine which level describes the current condition of their coral reefs and what conditions are desired, so they can set easily communicated, quantitative goals for achieving those conditions.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION