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‘Parrotfish Grazing Study’ Talk Sponsored By Friends of the National Park Service Seeks To Share Info About Coral Reefs As Well

CHRISTIANSTED — Buck Island Reef National Monument said that it is pleased to announce the beginning of partnership research project with two universities.

Throughout July and August, biologists from California Polytechnic State University, in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands, will be studying grazing scars on live coral tissues at several locations around Buck Island, including the South Fore-reef and the lagoon, and at several other study locations around St. Croix (Long Reef, Cane Bay, Carambola, and Teague Bay).

The research team, led by California Polytechnic State University – Department of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Ben Ruttenberg and graduate student Madelyn Roycroft, will perform coral surveys, benthic photoquadrat surveys, and characterize coral colonies and benthic habitat surrounding coral colonies with grazing scars. The team will count and estimate the sizes of parrotfish, and record the habitat types encountered.

The study will provide insight into the rates of parrotfish corallivory, or consumption and eating of coral, and compare these rates between Buck Island and the other study sites.

This data may also provide evidence for the kinds of factors driving coral consumption at these locations.

Ruttenberg and Roycroft will present an overview of this project on Thursday, July 6th, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Danish West India and Guinea Company Warehouse first floor meeting room.

Everyone is welcome. The Christiansted National Historic Site parking lot will remain open until 7 p.m. for those attending the talk.

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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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