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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744


GUZMAN, Héctor M.  and  GUEVARA, Carlos A.. Arrecifes coralinos de Bocas del Toro, Panamá: II. Distribución, estructura y estado de conservación de los arrecifes de las Islas Bastimentos, Solarte, Carenero y Colón. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 1998, vol.46, n.4, pp.889-912. ISSN 0034-7744.

The distribution and conservation status of coral reefs along the northern section of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro are evaluated (ca. 120 km), and the structure of 18 reefs around the islands of Bastimentos, Solarte, Carenero and Colón is described. Reef habitats located on the seaward side (exposed) of the islands exhibited the lowest coral cover (8%) and coral diversity, while leeward reefs (protected) showed the highest living coral cover (32%) and diversity. Macroalgae coverage was similar in both habitats but high (50%) if compared with other continental reefs described in the Ensenada Grande of Almirante Bay (4%). A total of 54 coral species was recorded, representing a 35% increase from previous studies for the region and 88% of the total species described for Panama. The diversity of reefs, reef organisms and habitats in the archipelago was greater outside the national park of Isla Bastimentos, the only marine protected area in western Panama. Some recommendations are provided for an integrated management of marine-terrestrial natural resources in the region, in particular, a complete change on the existing limits of the protected area and the creation of new reserves.

Keywords : Coral reefs; Caribbean; biodiversity; protected area; ecology; reef assessment.

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