Revista de Biología Tropical
Print version ISSN 0034-7744
GUZMAN, Héctor M. and GUEVARA, Carlos A.. Arrecifes coralinos de Bocas del Toro, Panamá: IV. Distribución, estructura y estado de conservación de los arrecifes continentales de Península Valiente. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2001, vol.49, n.1, pp. 53-66. ISSN 0034-7744.
This is the fourth and last contribution describing the individual structure, distribution and conservation status of coral reefs in the Province of Bocas del Toro. Here we describe 14 new reefs along 129 km of coast from Peninsula Valiente to Río Calovébora. Average live coral coverage for this region was 17.1% (" 3.6%), mainly in the western region of the peninsula (Bahia Bluefield and Ensenada Tobobe). Coral cover increases with depth ( 5 m) for most species at several reefs and the corals Porites furcata and Acropora palmata dominated shallow waters. Acropora palmata was found abundant in 43% of the studied reefs and toward the regions of the Ensenada Tobobe and Punta Valiente. Coral recruitment rates were similar in distribution to those reefs with greater coral coverage, with average densities of 4 recruit/m2 (maximum 9 recruits/m2) and mainly Agaricia spp., Porites astreoides and Siderastrea siderea. The greater diversity of corals and sponges was recorded toward the western side of the peninsula, with a total of 55 coral species in the study area, including two new records for Bocas del Toro (59 species in total), Dichocoenia stellaris and Madracis luciphila and increasing the diversity of corals of Panama to 65 species. We found 24 species of octocorals and Gorgonia mariae, Muriceopsis sulphurea and Muricea laxaoosens, are informed for the first time to the area, increasing in 10% the diversity for Bocas del Toro (32 in total). We recorded 48 sponges, including five new species for the area and representing an increase of 9% in the total number (58). Large populations of Acropora palmata were found in the Ensenada Tobobe, what justifies once again the need for modifying the existing protected area, so that this new region is incorporated within the conservation plans.
Keywords : Coral reefs; Panama; Bocas del Toro; Acropora; biodiversity; marine conservation.