Anda di halaman 1dari 75

Global Vision International,

Seychelles - Mah Report Series No. 142


ISSN 1751-2255 (Print)

GVI Seychelles Mah


Marine Conservation Expedition

July 2013 - June 2014

GVI Seychelles Mah/Marine Conservation Expedition Report July 2013 - June 2014
Submitted in whole to
Global Vision International
Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA)

Lee Cassidy

Science Coordinator

Finnbar O'Mahoney

Scholar

Samantha Howlett

Science Coordinator

Charlotte Orba

Scholar

Chris Mason-Parker

Country Director

Matthew Waller

Scholar

Kate Poss

Base Manager

Xavier Stowe

Scholar

Charlotte Broadhead

Community Coordinator

Gabi Reuben

Scholar

Danny Shand

Dive Officer

Alex Weber

Scholar

Liv Moudy

Dive Officer

Kyle Thomas

Scholar

Lee Bush

Dive Officer

Sam Brodie

Dive Officer

GVI Seychelles Mah/Marine Conservation Expedition


Address: GVI c/o SNPA, PO Box 1240, Victoria, Mah, Seychelles
Email: seychelles@gvi.co.uk Web page: http://www.gvi.co.uk and http://www.gviusa.com

Abstract
This report summaries the findings from surveys conducted between July 2013 to June
2014, which examined coverage of all epibenthic organisms, along with scleractinian coral
diversity and juvenile recruitment rate, in addition to density of both reef and commercial fish
species and the abundance of key indicator invertebrate species. Results were then
combined with previous survey data from the program to assess and analyse trends and
changes in the coral reef communities along the North-West coastline of Mah.
Analysis of the surveys focussing on the epibenthic communities show that overall coral
cover has increased to 49%, the highest coverage seen yet in the monitoring program.
Granitic sites increased by 1.8% in 2014 whilst carbonate reefs remained stable from 2013.
Analysis of the structural complexity shows that branching coral coverage decreased slightly
this year, however it has still maintained dominance from 2011. This continued increase in
the growth of the physical matrix of the reefs is a very positive sign for the future ability of
these reefs to support a wider diversity of life.
Fish results show that the overall density of fish on survey sites has increased over the last
year, with changes mainly to the community composition. Protected areas show higher
density and diversity of fish species, highlighting again the need to maintain correct
management of these critical areas.
Abundance of invertebrate species has increased since the initial surveys conducted in
2005. Results from 2014 however, show a decrease in the Arthropoda phyla. Further
analysis of species abundance shows that the decrease in mean abundance was mainly due
to a drop in oyster numbers at granitic sites and Molluscs and crab species on carbonate
reefs, indicating that these are issues affecting specific species on specific substrate types,
as opposed to larger scale problems affecting overall phylum numbers within the survey
area.

Contents
1

Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 8
1.1

Survey Sites ............................................................................................................10

Aims .............................................................................................................................. 11
2.1

Species Lists ...........................................................................................................11

2.1.1

Coral .................................................................................................................11

2.1.2

Fish...................................................................................................................11

2.1.3

Invertebrates ....................................................................................................12

2.2

Training....................................................................................................................12

2.2.1

Dive Training ....................................................................................................12

2.2.2

Species Identification .......................................................................................12

2.2.3

Survey Methodology.........................................................................................13

3. Methodology ................................................................................................................. 13
3.1.

Coral ........................................................................................................................13

3.1.1.

Line Intercept Transects (LIT) ..........................................................................13

3.1.2

Coral Diversity Belt Transects ..........................................................................14

3.1.3

Coral Recruitment Quadrats.............................................................................14

3.2

Fish ..........................................................................................................................15

3.2.1

Stationary Point Count .....................................................................................15

3.2.2

50m Belt Transects ..........................................................................................16

3.3

Invertebrates............................................................................................................17

3.3.1

10m Belt Transect ............................................................................................17

3.3.2

50m Belt Transect ............................................................................................17

3.4

Environmental Parameters ......................................................................................17

4. Results .......................................................................................................................... 18
4.1.

Surveys Completed .................................................................................................18

4.2.

Percentage mean live hard coral cover ...................................................................18

4.3.

Benthic Assemblage ................................................................................................19

4.4.

Structural Complexity ..............................................................................................23

4.5

Coral Recruit Results...............................................................................................25

4.6

Overall Fish Results ................................................................................................33

4.7

Combined Fish Density 2005 2014 ......................................................................33

4.8

Fish Densities with regards to Feeding Guilds ........................................................35


4

4.9

Influence of Marine Protected Areas on Fish Densities 2005 2014 .....................36

4.10 Fish Species Diversity .............................................................................................38


4.11 Commercial Fish Sizing Results ..............................................................................40
4.12 Invertebrate Densities from 10m Transects.............................................................41
4.13 Invertebrate Densities from 50m Belts ....................................................................43
4.14 Sea Cucumber Densities .........................................................................................46
5

Discussion .................................................................................................................... 47
5.1

Coral Surveys: LIT ...................................................................................................47

5.3

Fish Surveys ............................................................................................................52

5.4

Invertebrate Surveys ...............................................................................................55

Additional Ecosystem Monitoring.................................................................................. 56


6.1.

Turtles......................................................................................................................56

6.1.1.

Incidental Turtle Sightings ................................................................................56

6.1.2.

Beach Patrols for Nesting Turtles.....................................................................58

6.1.3.

In-water Surveys of Turtle Behaviour ...............................................................58

6.1.4.

Photo Identification of Turtles ...........................................................................60

6.2.

Crown of Thorns ......................................................................................................60

6.3.

Cetacean Sightings .................................................................................................61

6.4.

Whale Shark Sightings ............................................................................................61

6.5.

Plankton Sampling...................................................................................................62

7. Non-survey Programmes .............................................................................................. 63


7.1

Extra Programmes...................................................................................................63

7.1.1
7.2

Internships ........................................................................................................63

Community Development ........................................................................................63

7.2.1

Community Education Programmes.................................................................63

7.2.2

GVI Charitable Trust.........................................................................................63

7.2.3

National Scholarship Programme.....................................................................64

8. References ................................................................................................................... 65
9. Appendices ................................................................................................................... 67
Appendix A.Details of sites surveyed by GVI Seychelles Mah, year round. Sites in boldtype text are located within Marine Protected Areas. .........................................................67
Appendix B.Scleractinian coral genera surveyed by GVI Seychelles - Mah. ...................68
Appendix C.Fish families, genera and species surveyed by GVI Seychelles - Mah. .......69
Appendix D. Fish feeding guilds analysed by GVI Seychelles Mah. .............................72
5

Appendix E.Fish species lists divided into commercial and reef species analysed by GVI
Seychelles Mah. ............................................................................................................73
Appendix F.List of invertebratespecies surveyed on 50m belt transects by GVI Seychelles
Mah. ..............................................................................................................................74
Appendix G.Invertebrates surveyed on 10m LIT transects by GVI Seychelles Mah. ....75

Figures List
FIGURE 1.1 LOCATION AND SUBSTRATE TYPE OF GVI SURVEY SITES. ............................................................................................................... 10
FIGURE 3. 1 LAYOUT OF CORAL LIT AND DIVERSITY BELTS AT EACH SURVEY SITE, WHERE THE SHORELINE IS REPRESENTED BY THE TOP OF
THE FIGURE AND THE DISTANCE FROM SHORE INDICATES INCREASING DEPTH. .................................................................................. 14
FIGURE 3.2 LAYOUT OF CORAL RECRUITMENT SURVEYS AT EACH SURVEY SITE, WHERE THE SHORELINE IS REPRESENTED BY THE TOP OF
THE FIGURE AND THE DISTANCE FROM SHORE INDICATES INCREASING DEPTH............................................................................................15
FIGURE 3.3. LAYOUT OF FISH SPC AND BELTS, AND 50M INVERTEBRATE TRANSECTS AT EACH SURVEY SITE, WHERE THE SHORELINE IS
REPRESENTED BY THE TOP OF THE FIGURE AND THE DISTANCE FROM SHORE INDICATES INCREASING DEPTH. ................................. 16
FIGURE 4. 1 MEAN PERCENTAGE CORAL COVER ( SE) AT THE CARBONATE AND THE GRANITIC SITES, FOR EACH SURVEY PERIOD FROM
2005 TO 2014 ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 19
FIGURE 4. 2 MEAN PERCENTAGE COVERAGE FOR CORAL, ALGAE, OTHER BENTHIC ORGANISMS AND BARE SUBSTRATE FROM ALL SITES FOR
JAN JUN 2014 ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 20
FIGURE 4. 3 LARGE SCALE SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF PERCENTAGE COVERAGE OF CORAL, ALGAE, VARIOUS BENTHIC ORGANISMS AND
BARE SUBSTRATE ACROSS ALL SITES, RUNNING EAST TO WEST ACROSS NORTH WEST MAH FROM 2014 ...................................... 211
FIGURE 4. 4 MEAN PERCENTAGE COVERAGE OF ALGAE AND BENTHIC ORGANISMS ON SURVEYED CARBONATE REEFS FROM 2005 2014.
............................................................................................................................................................................................................... 22
FIGURE 4. 5 MEAN PERCENTAGE COVERAGE OF ALGAE AND BENTHIC ORGANISMS ON SURVEYED GRANITIC REEFS FROM 2005 2014. ... 22
FIGURE 4. 6 PERCENTAGE COVERAGE OF HARD CORAL FOUND ACROSS ALL REEFS FURTHER DIVIDED BY CORAL LIFEFORM PREVALENCE
FROM 2005 - 2014 ................................................................................................................................................................................ 233
FIGURE 4. 7 PERCENTAGE COVERAGE OF CORAL LIFEFORM FOUND ACROSS ALL REEFS FROM 2005 2014 ................................................. 24
FIGURE 4. 8 PERCENTAGE OF CORAL LIFE FORMS ON CARBONATE SITES 2005 2014 ................................................................................... 24
FIGURE 4. 9 PERCENTAGE OF CORAL LIFE FORM ON GRANITIC SITES FROM 2005 2014 ............................................................................... 25
FIGURE 4.10. MEAN CORAL RECRUITMENT DENSITY ACROSS ALL SITES FOR EACH SURVEY PERIOD FROM
2002 2013....................................................................................................................................................................................................26
2

FIGURE 4.11. MEAN CORAL RECRUITMENT DENSITY PER M FOR 0 -2 AND 2 5 SIZE CLASSES ON ALL SURVEY SITES ACROSS NORTH-WEST
MAH, 2005 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................27
2

FIGURE 4.12 A COMPARISON OF THE MEAN RECRUITMENT DENSITY PER M OF SCLERACTINIAN CORALS FOUND ON GRANITIC VERSUS
CARBONATE SITES ACROSS NORTH-WEST MAH, 2005 2013.......................................................................................................................28
2

FIGURE 4.13. MEAN CORAL RECRUITMENT DENSITY PER M ON DEEP AND SHALLOW DEPTH RANGES ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES OF
NORTH-WEST MAH, 2005 2013....................................................................................................................................................................29
2

FIGURE 4.14. RECORDED MEAN CORAL RECRUITMENT DENSITIES PER M OF SCLERACTINIAN FAMILIES ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES OF
NORTH-WEST MAH, 2005 2013..............................................................................................................................................................30

FIGURE 4.15. NORMALISED RELATIVE ABUNDANCE OF CORAL RECRUITMENT DENSITIES FOUND PER M OF SCLERACTINIAN FAMILIES
ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES OF NORTH-WEST MAH, 2005 2013 (DATA NORMALISED TO ACCOUNT FOR NUMBER OF GENUS WITHIN EACH
FAMILY).............................................................................................................................................................................................................31
2

FIGURE 4.16. NORMALISED RELATIVE ABUNDANCE OF CORAL RECRUITMENT PER M OF THE 5 MOST ABUNDANT SCLERACTINIAN
FAMILIES ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES OF NORTH-WEST MAH, 2005 2013 (DATA NORMALISED TO ACCOUNT FOR NUMBER OF GENUS
WITHIN EACH FAMILY)......................................................................................................................................................................................32
FIGURE 4.17. PERCENTAGE COMPOSITION OF RECRUIT FAMILIES OF THE RELATIVE ABUNDANCE ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES OF NORTH-
WEST MAH, 2005 2013 (DATA NORMALISED TO ACCOUNT FOR NUMBER OF GENUS WITHIN EACH FAMILY)..........................................32
FIGURE 4. 18 MEAN DENSITY PER M OF ALL SURVEYED FISH SPECIES ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES, 2005 - 2014. ....................................... 3434
FIGURE 4. 19 A COMPARISON OF MEAN DENSITY PER M OF ALL SURVEYED FISH SPECIES BETWEEN CARBONATE AND GRANITIC
SUBSTRATE SITES, 2005 2014 .......................................................................................................................................................... 3434
FIGURE 4. 20 COMPARISON OF FISH FEEDING GUILDS THROUGH DENSITY PER M ACROSS ALL SITES, 2005 2014. .................................... 35
FIGURE 4. 21 COMPARISON OF FEEDING GUILDS THROUGH DENSITY PER M ACROSS ALL SITES, 2005 2014, DISREGARDING
HERBIVORES..........................................................................................................................................................................................36
FIGURE 4. 22 OVERALL MEAN DENSITY PER M OF FISH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS, NOV-DEC 2005 TO JAN-JUN
2014......................................................................................................................................................................................................37
FIGURE 4. 23 MEAN DENSITY OF FISH PER M ON CARBONATE SUBSTRATE SITES INSIDE AND OUTSIDE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS, NOV-
DEC 2005 TO JAN-JUN 2014 ................................................................................................................................................................... 37
FIGURE 4. 24 MEAN DENSITY OF FISH PER M ON GRANITIC SUBSTRATE SITES INSIDE AND OUTSIDE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS, NOV-DEC
2005 TO JAN-JUN 2014. ......................................................................................................................................................................... 38
FIGURE 4. 25 SPECIES-RICHNESS (NUMBER OF FISH SPECIES FOUND) ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES ALONG NW MAH, 2014. GREEN DENOTES
SITES WITHIN MARINE PROTECTED AREAS AND BLUE DENOTES NON-PROTECTED SITES. ................................................................. 399
FIGURE 4. 26 A COMPARISON OF SPECIES-RICHNESS (NUMBER OF FISH SPECIES) BETWEEN THE SAME SITES OF NW MAH IN 2005 AND IN
2014.. ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 399
FIGURE 4. 27 MEAN DENSITY (INDIVIDUALS PER M) OF INVERTEBRATE PHYLA AND BLACK SPINED SEA URCHINS AT CARBONATE REEF
SITES, FOR EVERY SURVEY PERIOD FROM 2005 TO 2014 ....................................................................................................................... 41
FIGURE 4. 28 MEAN DENSITY (INDIVIDUALS PER M) OF INVERTEBRATE PHYLA AND BLACK SPINED SEA URCHINS AT GRANITIC REEF SITES,
FOR EVERY SURVEY PERIOD FROM 2005 TO 2014. ............................................................................................................................ 4242
FIGURE 4. 29 MEAN DENSITY (INDIVIDUALS PER M) OF INVERTEBRATE PHYLA AND BLACK SPINED SEA URCHINS AT CARBONATE REEF
SITES, FOR EVERY SURVEY PERIOD FROM 2005 TO 2014. ...................................................................................................................... 43
2

FIGURE 4. 30 MEAN DENSITY PER M OF ALL SURVEYED INVERTEBRATE SPECIES ACROSS NORTH-WEST MAH, 2014. ............................ 4343
2

FIGURE 4. 31 MEAN DENSITY PER M OF ALL SURVEYED INVERTEBRATE SPECIES ACROSS NORTH-WEST MAH FROM 2009 - 2014. ....... 4444
2

FIGURE 4. 32 MEAN DENSITY PER M OF CUSHION SEASTAR (CULCITA SPP.), CROWN OF THORNS (ACANTHASTERPLANCI) AND THE
GASTROPODS DRUPELLA SP. FROM 2009 - 2014 ACROSS ALL SITES. .................................................................................................... 45
FIGURE 4. 33 MEAN NUMBER OF SEA CUCUMBERS RECORDED PER SITE FROM 2006 - 2014. .................................................................... 4646
2

FIGURE 4. 34 DENSITY PER M OF INDIVIDUAL SEA CUCUMBER SPECIES ACROSS ALL SURVEY SITES OF NORTH-WEST MAH FROM 2008 -
2014. ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 47
FIGURE 6. 1 FREQUENCY (%) OF HAWKSBILL AND GREEN TURTLE SIGHTINGS AROUND NORTH-WEST MAH FROM OCT- DEC 2005 TO
APRIL-JUN 2014. ................................................................................................................................................................................. 5757
FIGURE 6. 2 MEAN CARAPACE LENGTH OF HAWKSBILL TURTLES AROUND NORTH-WEST MAH FROM JAN- MAR 2006 TO APR- JUN
2014......................................................................................................................................................................................................585
8

1 Introduction
Global Vision International (GVI) Seychelles comprises of two expeditions based on the
granitic inner islands of Seychelles. One on Mah, the largest and most heavily populated
island in the Seychelles group, located at the Cap Ternay Research Centre in Baie Ternay
National Park and one on Curieuse Island within the Curieuse national marine park, located
north of Praslin. The marine parks at which both GVI bases are located are controlled and
managed by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA). All of GVIs scientific work in
the Seychelles is carried out on behalf of our local partners and at their request, using their
methodology; GVI supplies experienced staff, trained volunteers and equipment to conduct
research in support of their on-going work.

GVIs key partner is the conservation and

research section, which is the research arm of SNPA. Additional local partners include the
Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) and the Seychelles Fishing Authority
(SFA).
Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA):

A local organisation partly funded by the

government, encompassing the conservation and research section and the Marine Parks
Authority (MPA). These organisations have the respective aims of carrying out marine
research in the Seychelles and of managing and patrolling the marine parks. The coral and
fish monitoring carried out for SNPA constitutes the majority of the work conducted by the
volunteers.
Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS): A local non-governmental organisation
(NGO) that carries out environmental research in the Seychelles, currently monitoring whale
sharks, cetaceans and turtles around Mah. GVI assists with all three of these research
programmes by documenting the presence or absence of turtles on every dive throughout
the phase, conducting in-water turtle behaviour survey dives and also turtle nesting surveys.
Along with the turtle work GVI reports incidental sightings of cetaceans and whale sharks
and undertakes weekly plankton sampling to aid with year round monitoring of plankton
levels in conjunction with the arrival of whale sharks to Mah Island.
Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA): The governing body, which oversees the management
and regulation of commercial and artisanal fisheries in the Seychelles. This government
agency is directly concerned with setting the catch, bag and seasonal limits that apply to
local stocks on an annual basis, as well as managing the international export industry that is
generated from the harvest of fisheries across the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone
(EEZ).

In 1998, a worldwide coral bleaching event decimated much of the coral surrounding the
inner granitic islands of the Seychelles, with hard coral mortality reaching 95% in some
areas (Spencer et al. 2000). It is thought that this was caused by the high ocean
temperatures associated with an El Nino Southern Oscillation event at that time. Efforts to
monitor the regeneration of reefs in the Seychelles were initiated as part of the Shoals of
Capricorn, a three year programme started in 1998 and funded by the Royal Geographic
Society in conjunction with the Royal Society. The research and conservation section of the
SNPA was set up by the Shoals of Capricorn in an effort to ensure continuation of the work
started, as well as to assist the Marine Parks Authority (MPA) with the management of the
existing marine parks. The predominant objective for the Seychelles GVI expedition is to aid
this monitoring programme and thereby assist in the construction of management plans that
will benefit the future recovery of coral reefs in the area.
Between 2000 and the beginning of the GVI expedition in 2004 the Seychelles marine
ecosystem management program (SEYMEMP) took place, this was the most comprehensive
assessment of the coral reefs within the inner islands of the Seychelles to date. Eighty one
carbonate and granitic reef sites throughout the inner islands were monitored using fine
scale monitoring techniques. Monitoring efforts were continued by Reefcare International, a
non-governmental organisation based in Australia. The protocols established by Reefcare
International provided a foundation for those adopted by GVI. Although GVIs logistical
constraints restrict monitoring efforts to the north-west coast of Mah at sites selected by
SNPA.
The survey data collected by GVI volunteers allows for analysis of trends in coral reef health
seen over the past 14 years of monitoring. Along with this core research GVI Seychelles also
endeavours to aid in any of the other projects undertaken by all their partners where it can;
as it is hoped that with this help they will be able to increase their capacity to monitor,
manage and ultimately conserve the marine environment of the Seychelles for the future.
The GVI expedition comprises of survey programs that are four, eight or twelve weeks long,
running continuously throughout the year from January - December. Within the 12 months
fish and invertebrates are surveyed continuously at all survey sites in set time periods. Line
Intercept Transects and Coral Diversity transects are undertaken in the first 6 months to
evaluate coral coverage and site diversity, and Coral Recruitment quadrats are used within
the second 6 months to survey newly recruited colonies and gain a picture of site recovery.
Health and Safety: The safety of all volunteers is paramount. All volunteers are given a
health and safety brief on the camp upon arrival and conservative diving guidelines are
9

adhered to for the duration of the expedition. In addition, volunteers complete the PADI
Emergency First Response first aid course, and are taught how to administer oxygen in the
event of a diving related incident.
1.1

Survey Sites

GVI surveys a maximum of 24 separate sites around north-west Mah in the course of a
year (fig1.1).The 24 sites are surveyed twice a year; once in the first 6 months and then
again in the second half of the year. All sites are now listed as core sites (see Appendix A
for site details). The sites are evenly divided between carbonate and granitic reefs and they
represent varying degrees of exposure to wave action and currents. Six of the sites are
within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) where restrictions on all fishing as well as regulations
on the recreational use of the park are in place.

Figure 1.1 Location and Substrate Type of GVI Survey Sites.

Each survey site is divided into shallow and deep zones, where the shallow zone is
defined by the depth range 1.5 5.0m and the deep zone is defined by the depth range 5.1
15.0m. Each site has a central point, marked by a distinctive landmark on the coastline, and
10

is further divided into left, centre and right areas (fig 3.1). These areas are loosely defined
as such by their position with respect to the centre marker of the site. All depths are
standardised with respect to tidal chart datum so as to eliminate tidal influence.

2 Aims
The focus of July 2013 to June 2014 was on surveying commercial and reef fish species as
well as benthic assemblage and coral juvenile recruitment rates around North-West Mah.
The specific aims of the phase were;

Assess diversity and density of fish species across all survey sites

Estimate size of commercially important fish species

Diversity of hard coral genera across all sites

Assess benthic assemblage, including evaluation of hard coral, soft coral, sessile
organisms coverage and substrate composition

Evaluate coral juvenile recruitment rates for every site

Monitor coral predation and algal grazing pressures through density estimates of
hard coral predators, sea urchins and specific fish feeding guilds

Assess abundance and diversity of commercially targeted invertebrate species


including sea cucumbers, lobster and octopus

2.1

Species Lists
2.1.1

Coral

The list of surveyed scleractinian corals covers 50 separate genera (See Appendix B for the
complete species list). Corals are identified to genus level only as in-situ identification
beyond genus level is not possible in the case of some corals, and is also beyond the
requirements of the project aims. Volunteers are also encouraged to record the genus as
unknown if they are not able to confidently identify a coral beyond the family level, and
similarly to record unknown hard coral where even the family is not determinable with a
level of confidence.
2.1.2

Fish

The fish species chosen for surveys are those that are likely to indicate status of the reefs
along with fishing pressure, but are not overly difficult to locate, identify and count as
specified by SNPA / SFA. For example, Surgeonfish are herbivores and grazers and thus
would influence the algal coral dynamics within the reef ecosystem. Reef-associated
11

species of commercial concern are also surveyed. This data can be used to help determine
the status of the reefs and of the fisheries especially when compared with the data from
previous phases.
Fish are surveyed to the highest taxonomic resolution practicable, with most identified to
species level. The resolution depends on difficulty of identification, and also the species
characteristics and the data requirements of our partners.

The taxonomic level needed

varies according to the ecological function of the species within the ecosystem; for example,
if different species within a genus feed on different types of food, it is highly desirable to
distinguish them to species. However, volunteers are instructed to record only to the level to
which they are confident of the identification, thus if they are sure of the family but not genus
or species, they record only as an unknown species of that family. See Appendix C - E for
the list and taxonomic resolution of fish species surveyed.
2.1.3

Invertebrates

Invertebrate species, which influence and can indicate the health and conditions of coral
reefs are surveyed along with commercially viable species which are under fishing pressure.
The full list of surveyed invertebrate species is included in Appendix F - G.
2.2

Training
2.2.1

Dive Training

All volunteers must be at least PADI Open Water qualified to join the expedition. Volunteers
then receive the PADI Advanced Open Water course covering Boat, Peak Performance
Buoyancy, Navigation, Underwater Naturalist, and Deep dives. Particular attention is paid to
buoyancy as surveys are conducted in water as shallow as two metres and over delicate
reef ecosystems.
2.2.2

Species Identification

Volunteers are required to learn species identification of assigned group either one or a
combination of fish, benthic organisms or invertebrates along with all additionally recorded
species such as turtles, sharks and rays. Training is initially provided in the form of
presentations, workshops and informal discussion with the expedition staff in the classroom.
Self-study materials are also available in the form of electronic and hard copy flashcards, as
well as Indian Ocean identification publications. Knowledge is tested using assessment in
the classroom, for which a 95% pass mark is required. Volunteers are taken on identification
dives with staff members for in-water testing; their responses are recorded and the dives

12

continue until the volunteer has demonstrated accurate identification of all necessary
species/genera.
2.2.3

Survey Methodology

Volunteers receive on land briefings and lectures, navigation practice and in-water training in
the skills required to conduct reef surveys. Volunteers complete the PADI Coral Reef
Research Diver (CRRD) course, which is specifically developed for GVI and offered only at
GVI marine expeditions in Mexico and Fiji. All volunteers are trained in the use of a delayed
surface marker buoy and tape reels, plus any other survey equipment specific to the
research they will be conducting. The course also includes a series of lectures on various
aspects of the marine environment. Before completing any recorded surveys independently,
volunteers participate in practice surveys in which they are taught and assessed by a
member of staff.
Improvements to the quality of species identification training materials are an ongoing and
extremely important component to this marine expedition. Photographs taken locally of
species underwater are the best materials to use they are accurate and portray how the
organism appears underwater. New electronic and hardcopy flashcards are produced to
enhance the self-study materials available and to develop the exams by the same means.
Volunteers are encouraged to donate their underwater pictures to add to the library.

3. Methodology
3.1.

Coral

3.1.1. Line Intercept Transects (LIT)


The LIT is a cost-effective method for assessing reef composition (Leujak & Ormond 2007)
which produces good results, replicates easily and can be taught to volunteers within time
and knowledge constraints. At every site, six 10 metre LITs were carried out, each running
parallel to shore within the specific depth range and using reeled tape measures. Three
LITs were completed in both the shallow and deep zones, evenly spread amongst the left,
centre and right of the site (Fig. 3.1.). Divers record a start and end depth for each transect.
The benthic assemblage and substrate is recorded in a continuous series of data of what is
directly under the tape, with start and end points for each entry, to the nearest cm. Where
coral is found, it is identified to genus level and the life form describing the majority of the
colony is recorded. Transects were laid randomly where possible, however placement of the

13

2lb weight at the beginning of the transect generally meant avoiding delicate organisms,
therefore the start point would not be chosen randomly. Additionally, the topography at some
of the granitic sites creates limited possible places where 10 m of tape can be laid inside the
1.5 5.0 m zone and meant that shallow transects must be laid wherever the diver can
achieve it and thus diver selection must drive the process.

Figure 3. 1 Layout of coral LIT and diversity belts at each survey site, where the shoreline is represented by the top of
the figure and the distance from shore indicates increasing depth.

3.1.2

Coral Diversity Belt Transects

Two belt transects were conducted at each site to assess diversity of coral genera. The
transects start within the shallow zone at the centre of the site, heading out either to the
deep left (belt B) or to the deep right (belt A) at a 45 angle from shore; thus both the depth
and spread of each site is sampled (Fig 3.1). Divers conduct the survey by searching for
coral genera within a 2.5m bandwidth either side of the tape, completing tight s-shaped
search patterns, thus together surveying a 5m wide corridor along the 50m. Each diver
records the presence of any coral genera seen in their search area once..
3.1.3

Coral Recruitment Quadrats

Reef regeneration around north-west Mah was investigated by counting and identifying to
genus level recently recruited scleractinian corals within the survey sites. Recent 'recruits'
were defined as any coral smaller than 5cm in height and diameter, and then further divided
into two size classes of 0- 2cm and 2.1- 5cm. 1m2 quadrats were used to define the area
14

within which the recruits were to be counted. At each site, the coral recruits in a minimum of
fifteen shallow and fifteen deep quadrats were identified to genus and counted. To ensure
even coverage of the reef, quadrats were divided equally between the left, centre and right
areas of each site (Fig 3.2). To ensure random placement of the quadrats the diver descends
to a section of reef within the target depth and area, then swims for five fin-kick cycles in any
direction and drops the quadrat from a height of 1m above the substrate, the quadrat will
settle on an area of the reef not specifically selected by the diver.

Figure 3.2 Layout of coral recruitment surveys at each survey site, where the shoreline is represented by the top of the
figure and the distance from shore indicates increasing depth.

3.2

Fish

3.2.1

Stationary Point Count

The stationary point count is a commonly used UVC technique (Engelhardt 2004; Kulbicki
1998) employed by well-respected reef assessment programs such as the Atlantic and Gulf
Rapid Reef Assessment (AGGRA) and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Coral
Reef Monitoring Program (FKNMS CRMP) (Hill & Wilkinson 2004). Variations of the method
have been used as part of several studies in the Seychelles (Engelhardt 2004; Graham et al.
2007; Jennings et al. 1995; Spalding & Jarvis 2002) where the lack of spear fishing
increases the reliability of this technique (Jennings et al. 1995). The post-bleaching surveys
conducted by Reefcare International as part of the Seychelles Marine Ecosystem
Management Project (SEYMEMP) used 7 minute long stationary point counts and defined
the area for the point count with a 7m radius (Engelhardt 2001; 2004); 7 7.5m radius circle
has been shown to create an area of the most suitable size for the size groups into which
15

coral reef fish typically fall (Samoilys & Gribble 1997). When GVI assumed responsibility for
the continuation of this assessment in 2005, the same methodology was adopted.
At each site eight stationary point counts were carried out. Four stationary point counts were
done in each of the shallow and deep zones, two centre, one left and one on the right (Fig.
3.3). Divers recorded depth at the centre of each point count and start time for each survey.

A tape measure was used to delineate the circle radius, laid in any direction along the reef.
This allows for visual reference for the census boundary, increasing accuracy for density
calculations. Point counts were conducted by buddy pairs of divers where each was
responsible for counting a different selection of surveyed fish, thus reducing the number of
fish one person is required to count. During the last minute both divers swam around the
circle to attempt to ensure that more cryptic fish were counted.

Stationary point count


Fish belt transect
Invertebrate belt

Figure 3. 3 Layout of fish SPC and belts, and 50m invertebrate transects at each survey site, where the shoreline is
represented by the top of the figure and the distance from shore indicates increasing depth.

3.2.2

50m Belt Transects

Colvocoresses & Acosta (2007) reported that Belt Transect surveys can cover more area
with a similar observer effort to Point Count surveys, although behavioural avoidance of fish
towards divers was frequently noted and, possibly as a result, lower densities of fish have
been recorded on Belt Transects than on Point Counts. We decided to introduce Belt
Transects in addition to the Stationary Point Counts, but to incorporate mechanisms to
16

reduce behavioural avoidance. Variety in methodologies also has the advantages of adding
to the skills set of the volunteers and enhancing their experience.
The transect belts were 50m long by 5m wide, a standard area often used for reef
assessments (Samoilys& Gribble 1997; Hill & Wilkinson 2004). Surveys were conducted by
buddy pairs with each diver responsible for counting a different selection of fish. Four belt
transects were completed at each site, 2 in the deep zone and 2 in the shallow (Fig. 3.3).
One diver laid a measuring tape parallel to the shoreline on the reef while the other swam in
front counting fish. Samoilys and Gribble (1997) recommend this technique of
simultaneously counting fish and laying the transect tape as it avoids disturbing the fish prior
to counting. After completion of the outward stage of the transect, the observers hover away
from the end of the tape for 3 minutes to allow fish to return to the survey area before
beginning the return leg. On the return journey, the second diver swims back along the tape
counting the other fish while the buddy reels in the tape behind them.
3.3

Invertebrates
3.3.1

10m Belt Transect

The diver conducting the invertebrate belt transects dives as a buddy to the coral LIT diver
and transects are conducted along the same tape as the LITs, thus six invertebrate belts
were completed at each site (Fig. 3.2). Invertebrate divers searched the area extending to 1
m either side of the tape for targeted species (see Appendix G).
3.3.2

50m Belt Transect

Extent of hard coral predation was measured as the density of two types of sea star; cushion
stars (Culcita spp.) and Crown of Thorns (Acanthaster planci), and gastropods in the genus
Drupella at each survey site, all of which are hard coral predators. Algal grazing pressure
was measured as the density of sea urchins. Two 50m transects were laid out at each site,
using polyprophelene reel tape measures. The transects start at the shallow centre point and
head out at opposing 45 angles towards the deep zone, thus covering the whole depth
range of 1.5 15.0m and the spread of the site. Target species within 2.5m either side of the
tape were recorded (see Appendix F).
3.4

Environmental Parameters

During each survey dive the boat captain records abiotic factors pertaining to the
environmental conditions during the dive.

17

Turbidity is recorded using a Secchi disk

Cloud cover is estimated in eighths

Sea state is evaluated using the Beaufort scale, a copy of which is kept on the boat

Surface and bottom sea temperatures are recorded using personal dive computers.

4. Results
4.1.

Surveys Completed

During July 2013 to June 2014, substrate composition, commercial and reef fish species
density and mobile invertebrate density were recorded. For substrate composition surveys
24 survey sites were successfully completed from July 2013 to December 2013, and 23 sites
for January 2014 to June 2014. The same survey sites were completed for the fish density
surveys. Bad weather conditions didnt allow for a full composite of sites to be completed.
Within each site all stationary point counts, fish belts, quadrats, and LIT transects were
completed. In addition 50m coral diversity transects and 50m invertebrate belt transects
were surveyed. This created a total of 376 SPCs, 178 fish belts (102,379m), 144 LIT
transects, 48 coral diversity transects (12,240m), 144 invertebrate transects and 94
invertebrate density belts (26,380m) across the completed sites.
In addition to the core surveys, in-water behavioural turtle surveys were conducted weekly
as well as turtle nesting surveys within the season of October to December. Data was also
collected on incidental sightings of mega-fauna including turtles, cetaceans, sharks, rays and
invertebrates of commercial importance.
4.2.

Percentage mean live hard coral cover

Percentage hard coral cover was determined from the line intersect transects completed
across the 24 core survey sites. Percentage coral cover has seen an overall increase
between survey phases 2005 to 2014. Results from 2014 found coral cover reaching
maxima since surveys began at 39.22% ( 2.07) mean live hard coral cover. Overall mean
percentage cover has increased every year with the exception on 2009.
Percentage coverage of coral has continued its increase over the years, however when
results are analysed by substrate type (figure 4.1) differences in the rate of change can be
seen. Carbonate reef systems show stability in coral cover from 2011 at between 34 - 35%.
Results from 2014 found coverage of 35.53% indicating an increase of 1.02% from 2013 and
still maintaining the general trend. The overall percentage coral cover remains higher for
18

granitic reefs, at 42.91% for 2014. A new maxima for coverage on granitic sites since
surveys began. This continues the trends found since 2005. Maximum difference between
the percentage cover between the two substrates was found in 2006 at 8.23%, although
fluctuating, this gap began to narrow with time. However, recent years have shown a
broadening in the difference, which is now 7.38%.

50

Mean % Coral Cover

45
40
35
30
25
20
15

Carbonate

10

Granitic

5
0

Year
Figure 4. 1 Mean percentage coral cover ( SE) at the carbonate and the granitic sites, for each survey period from
2005 to 2014.

4.3.

Benthic Assemblage

Along with coverage of coral species, benthic assemblage is also recorded on the line
intercept transects. When combining the data from all sites results found for 2014 show a
higher percentage of algae at 52% than that of coral at 40%; with areas of bare substrate
(2%) and other benthic organisms (6%) showing significantly lower coverage (figure 4.2).
The various benthic organisms consist mainly of soft corals, sponges, corallimorphs and
zooanthids.

19

Coral Cover %
Algal cover %
Various %
Bare %

Figure 4. 2 Mean percentage coverage for coral, algae, other benthic organisms and bare substrate from all sites for
Jan Jun 2014.

Although sites show high coverage of algae the actual distribution of coverage differs when
looking at site specifics. It is observed that sites that show low coral cover have significantly
higher algal cover; this is also true with the reverse. Special reference to survey sites, Port
Launay West Rocks and Anse Major

reef. Figure 4.3 also displays a difference in

percentage cover of both algae and coral distribution across an east-west gradient, with
coral more abundant to the west. In addition to this, comparison of algal vs. coral dynamics
can be analysed with regard to marine protected areas, overall algae still shows higher
percentage coverage than that of coral in both areas, yet within the marine parks the range
is smaller. Specific results show 42% algae vs. 48% coral inside the marine parks with 56%
algae vs. 37% coral outside.

20

Bare %
Various %
Algal cover %

Therese South

Therese North East

Therese North Point

Conception North Point

Port Launay West Rocks

Baie Ternay Lighthouse

Port Launay South Reef

Baie Ternay North West

Secret Beach Reef

Baie Ternay Centre

Site Y

Baie Ternay North East

Willie's Bay Point

Willie's Bay Reef

Anse Major Point

Rays Point

Anse Major Reef

Site X

Whale Rock

Auberge Reef

White Villa

Corsaire Reef

Coral Cover %

L'ilot North Face

% Coverage

100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

Site
Figure 4. 3 Large scale spatial distribution of percentage coverage of coral, algae, various benthic organisms and bare
substrate across all sites, running East to West across North West Mah from 2014.

Excluding the continual growth seen with the Scaleractinian corals, distributions of algae and
other benthic organisms can be analysed across both the carbonate and granitic substrates.
Coverage of these benthic organisms differs between the two reef substrates. Carbonate
reefs show a greater range in coverage of sessile organisms whilst granitic sites are
dominated by coralline algal; with all other species having stable low level densities (figure
4.4; figure 4.5).
Benthic organisms on carbonate reefs display wide ranges in densities, all however are
found at significantly lower percentages than coral; below 9% coverage. Fluctuations are
seen with regards to each group, however relative dominance has remained stable
throughout the monitoring program. The exception is macro algae, which remains the least
abundant organism found on carbonate reefs (figure 4.4). There has been a decline in the
coverage of the two most abundant benthic organisms, Corallimorphs / Zooanthids, and soft
corals over the past three years. These changes range between 2 - 4%, fluctuations of this
size have been seen in previous years. Coralline algae shows an increase in coverage from
2010 and exceeds the coverage of soft corals this year, again fluctuations are seen in the
coverage year on year.

21

% Coverage

9.00
8.00
7.00
6.00
5.00
4.00
3.00
2.00
1.00
0.00
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Soft Coral
Sponge
Corallimorphs /
Zoanthids
Coralline Algae
Macro Algae

Year
Figure 4. 4 Mean percentage coverage of algae and benthic organisms on surveyed carbonate reefs from 2005 2014.

The benthic assemblage of granitic reefs differs from that of carbonate reefs and is
dominated by coralline algae. The percentage cover of coralline algae at the granitic sites is
consistently higher than that of other benthic organisms (with the exception of hard coral).
Percentage coverage has seen a reduction from the peak at 10.56% in 2006. Current
coverage found for 2014 is 7.46% yet this algal group still remains dominant. Interestingly
the minimum coverage of coralline algae was seen in 2010 for both carbonate and granitic
reefs. Since then there has been an increase in coralline algae for each substrate type. All
other surveyed benthic organisms have shown consistent low level coverage of below 4%
with little fluctuation in coverage throughout the phases (figure 4.5).

12.00
Soft Coral

% Coverage

10.00

Sponge

8.00

Corallimorphs /
Zoanthids

6.00
4.00

Coralline Algae

2.00

Macro Algae

0.00
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year
Figure 4. 5 Mean percentage coverage of algae and benthic organisms on surveyed granitic reefs from 2005 2014.

22

4.4.

Structural Complexity

Structural complexity of the reefs is derived from the coverage of coral life forms which
increase the physical matrix of the reefs; primarily the branching and sub massive life forms.
Encrusting and massive coral life forms, although responsible for building up the reef
structure, provided limited habitat space for other reef inhabitants. The coverage of coral life
forms is independent from abundance of coral genus as a single genus can exhibit a
multitude of life forms.

45
40

% Coverage

35
30

Mushroom

25

Submassive

20

Massive

15

Foliose

10

Encrusting

Branching

0
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year
Figure 4. 6 Percentage coverage of hard coral found across all reefs further divided by coral lifeform prevalence from
2005 - 2014.

Figure 4.6 shows that across all sites the percentage coverage of coral has increased, along
with this there have been changes in the abundance of the key lifeforms related to the
structural complexity of the reefs.
Figure 4.7 shows the changes in the percentage coverage of lifeforms out of the total coral
cover through the monitoring program. An increase in the abundance of branching coral is
clearly identifiable. In 2005 branching corals made up just 6.13% of the total coral cover, this
has increased year on year reaching its current percentage of 48.44% for 2014. In 2011
branching coral became the overall dominant coral lifeform a trend that has continued in this
year surveys results. Results from 2014 show branching corals making up 48.44% of hard
coral cover with encrusting corals making up 30.33%. Massive coral lifeforms have also
decreased in coverage from 2005 2013 but show an increase to 5.98% for 2014.

23

% Coverage

100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Mushroom
Submassive
Massive
Foliose
Encrusting
Branching

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year
Figure 4. 7 Percentage coverage of coral lifeform found across all reefs from 2005 2014.

Overall distribution of coral life forms differs significantly depending on substrate type.
Branching life form dominates the carbonate reefs whereas encrusting life forms dominate
the granitic (figure 4.8, figure 4.9). The higher rate of growth in the branching corals on the
carbonate reefs is the reason for the dominance. Granitic reefs have displayed increased
coverage of branching corals, however the rate is markedly slower than that seen on the
carbonate reefs.
100
90

% Coverage

80
70

Mushroom

60

Submassive

50

Massive

40

Foliose

30

Encrusting

20

Branching

10
0
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year
Figure 4. 8 Percentage of coral life forms on carbonate sites 2005 2014.

24

100
90

% Coverage

80
70

Mushroom

60

Submassive

50

Massive

40

Foliose

30

Encrusting

20

Branching

10
0
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year
Figure 4. 9 Percentage of coral life form on granitic sites from 2005 2014.

4.5

Coral Recruit Results

Overall mean Scleractinian coral recruitment density across all sites in the October to
December 2012 was 15.3 recruits per m2 (SE 0.35), finding 40 coral genera from 14 family
groups. The dominant families at all sites were Faviidae, Poritidae and Acroporidae. Highest
recruit density was found at survey site 18. Lilot North Face with 26.69 per m2 with lowest
density at 10. Baie Ternay North West with 8.00 per m2; showing a high range in the mean
density of 18.69 per m2.
Diversity analysis showed that overall 10 individual genera were present at all 24 survey
sites and site specific analysis showed a maximum diversity of 28 genera from 13 families
found at 13B. Anse Major Point. 12A. Anse Major Reef came out with lowest diversity of 19
genera within 10 families.

25

Mean Recruit Density (m-2 SE)

18.0
16.0
14.0
12.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0

Phase
Figure 4.10. Mean coral recruitment density across all sites for each survey period from 2002 2013.

Figure 4.10 shows mean coral recruitment density has decreased since 2012 by 2.50
recruits per m2, as 2011 still remains the density maxima for the whole monitoring program.
Previous to 2011 it was thought that the density of coral recruits had stabilised at around 12
14 recruits per m2 however the change seen for 2011/2012 shows that overall recruit
density is continuing to increase. Results from 2012 show a significant increase in density
since the initial recruitment survey carried out in 2002 (Engelhardt 2004), from 7.47 recruits
per m2 up to 15.3 recruits per m2 respectively. It is important to note that the 2002 survey
covered a larger area than currently surveyed by GVI; a total of 1600m2 in 2002 compared to
the current total area of 861 m2. Also the extra area covered during the 2002 survey was on
the eastern side of Mah island (Engelhardt 2004) where the coral abundance is lower than
sites surveyed by GVI; this would affect direct comparisons made to this data set. It is
included in this report as a reference to early coral recruitment data taken after the 1998
bleaching event.

26

4.5.1 Coral Recruit Size Class Comparison

Mean Recruit Density (m-2 SE)

12.0
0 - 2 cm

10.0
2 - 5 cm

8.0
6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0

Phase
2

Figure 4.11. Mean coral recruitment density per m for 0 -2 and 2 5 size classes on all survey sites across north-west
Mah, 2005 2013.

Surveyed coral recruits are divided into two size classes, 0-2 cm and 2-5 cm, with respect to
both height and diameter; 0-2cm size category representing the most recently settled coral
juveniles to the reef. Results from 2013 found density of the recruits in the 2-5cm size class
(7.69 per m2) to be higher than density of the 0-2cm size class (5.27 per m2); this trend is
seen since surveys began in 2005.
The 2 5cm recruit density has decreased in 2013, after reaching its maxima for the
program in 2012. The 0 2cm recruit density has also continued to decrease this year to a
similar density to that which was found in 2010. The separation between small and large
recruits has returned to similar values to that found previously in the program (Fig. 4.11).

27

4.5.2 Coral Recruitment; Granitic versus Carbonate Substrate Composition

Mean Recruit Density (m-2 SE)

20.0
18.0
16.0
14.0
12.0
10.0
8.0
6.0

Granitic
Carbonate

4.0
2.0
0.0

Phase
2

Figure 4.12 A comparison of the mean recruitment density per m of scleractinian corals found on granitic versus
carbonate sites across north-west Mah, 2005 2013.

Results of recruitment density divided by substrate type showed that in 2013, carbonate
reefs had a mean of 10.22 per m2 (SE 0.32) and on granitic sites recruitment was higher at
14.98 per m2 (SE 0.58). This trend of higher recruitment density has been seen on granitic
sites since the survey period began, with the exception of 2010 (Fig. 4.12).
This years results show a decrease in the density on both substrate types however the
decrease is more pronounced on the carbonate substrate which dropped by 3.02 recruits per
m2; compared to the decrease on granitic of 2.07 recruits per m2. However these decreases
only result in a minor change in overall density.

28

4.5.3 Coral Recruitment; Deep versus Shallow Zonation

Mean Recruit Density (m-2 SE)

20.0
18.0
16.0
14.0
12.0
10.0
8.0
6.0

Deep

4.0

Shallow

2.0
0.0

Phase
2

Figure 4.13. Mean Coral recruitment density per m on deep and shallow depth ranges across all survey sites of northwest Mah, 2005 2013.

Depth specific recruitment densities at each of the sites for the current survey 2013 are
11.05 per m2 (SE 0.37) for the shallow surveys (1.5 5.0m plus CD) and 14.56 per m2 (SE
0.60) for the deep surveys (5.1 15m plus CD). Shallow surveys again show lower mean
densities than that of the deep ranges; a pattern confirmed by all depth comparisons from
this survey's history. However, in 2013 both depth zones show a decrease from 2012 as well
as from their maxima in 2011 and 2012 in the deep and shallow zones, respectively (Fig.
4.13).

29

4.5.4 Coral Family Density and Diversity

Mean Coral Recruit Density (m-2)

6.0

2005
2006

5.0

2007
4.0

2008
2009

3.0

2010
2.0

2011
2012

1.0

2013
0.0

Family
2

Figure 4.14. Recorded mean coral recruitment densities per m of scleractinian families across all survey sites of
north-west Mah, 2005 2013.

Recorded densities of coral recruits when focusing on the comparison between families
show the same three groups dominating the abundance levels in previous surveys years
from 2008. Faviidae remain at the highest density at 4.78 per m2 in 2013 as this dominance
has been maintained throughout the survey program. The second most dominant coral
family, Poritidae, with recruit density of 3.27 per m2, and finally the Acroporidae family found
a density of 1.97 per m2 for 2013. These three coral families have remained dominant since
2008 when the Acroporidae family increased in density above the Pocilloporidae family and
has remained so from that year. All other family groups show relatively stable density levels,
though they remain consistently lower than the top three.
This type of analysis, however, does not account for the number of coral genus within each
family. For example the Faviidae family consists of 12 individual coral genus; this would
naturally give a higher density result as within each 1m2 quadrat there is a higher chance of
finding Faviidae genus as the genus are more numerous than within the other family groups
i.e. Poritidae and Acroporidae only have 3 genus within each family.
The following analysis of family abundance has been normalised; wherein total density is
divided by number of genus within the family, to give a more accurate representation of
30

changes in the overall abundance by negating the difference in genus number between each
family. Density units have been converted to relative abundance per m2 to give a visual

Mean Coral Recruit Density (m-2)

representation of coral family density changes with time.

1.4

2005

1.2

2006
2007

1.0

2008

0.8

2009

0.6

2010

0.4

2011
2012

0.2

2013

0.0

Family

Figure 4.15. Normalised relative abundance of coral recruitment densities found per m of scleractinian families
across all survey sites of north-west Mah, 2005 2013 (data normalised to account for number of genus within each
family).

Figure 4.15. shows that once the number of genus within the family is accounted for the
Poritidae family becomes the most abundant, this is constant throughout the survey
program. The second most abundant family is Acroporidae which has remained at this level
since 2008 when the abundance increased above the following families. The next three
families Faviidae, Astroceoniidae and Pocilloporidae have obtained similar abundance levels
for 2013.

31

Relative Density (m-2)

1.4
1.2

Poritidae

Acroporidae

0.8

Faviidae

0.6

Astrocoeniidae

0.4

Pocilloporidae

0.2
0
2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Year
2

Figure 4.16. Normalised relative abundance of coral recruitment per m of the 5 most abundant scleractinian families
across all survey sites of north-west Mah, 2005 2013 (data normalised to account for number of genus within each
family).

Figure 4.16. focuses on the 5 most abundant coral families; this shows clearly how the
density of the Acroporidae recruits has increased significantly over the monitoring program.
Increases are seen in the Faviidae, Pocilloporidae and Astroceoniidae families but at a much
slower rate than the other dominant families.

100%
90%

% Composition

80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Euphyllidae
Pectiniidae
Merulinidae
Unidentified
Fungiidae
Mussidae
Dendrophylliidae
Oculinidae
Siderastreidae
Agariciidae
Pocilloporidae
Astrocoeniidae
Faviidae
Acroporidae
Poritidae

Year
Figure 4.17. Percentage composition of recruit families of the relative abundance across all survey sites of north-west
Mah, 2005 2013 (data normalised to account for number of genus within each family).

Figure 4.17. shows the percentage composition of recruits by family within the total density
recorded for each year across the reefs. This is a better indicator of the recruitment rate
when focused at the family level. Relative abundance shows a continual increase in the
Poritidae recruits as percentage composition shows that in 2005 Poritidae represented
32

32.9% of all the recruits recorded and has risen slightly in 2013 to 34.8%. The Acroporidae
family has also increased from 10.2% in 2005 up to 20.9% in 2013. This indicates that the
recruitment rate of Acroporidae colonies is greater than that of the Poritidae family. This is
equally seen in the Astrocoeniidae family were the proportion of recruits has been increasing
although at a slower rate. All other family groups show a stable recruit composition and rate
of recruitment.
4.6

Overall Fish Results

Overall abundance for all surveyed commercial and reef fish species using both point count
and belt methodologies came to 34,966 individuals across a total survey area of 102,379 m2,
giving an average fish density of 0.34 individuals per m2. Per specific survey site, the site
showing the highest total abundance levels was Therese south, with 1152 individuals (0.52
per m2). The next closest site in terms of overall density was Baie Ternay North West with
1116 individuals (0.50 per m2). The lowest abundance levels were found at Anse Major
Reef, 357 individuals (0.16 per m2), and Corsaire Reef, 504 individuals (0.23 per m2).
All three sites showing the highest densities of fish are granitic sites and are located at
exposed areas. Benefits of exposed areas include having higher current and nutrient
availability. There is also a higher percentage of coral cover at granitic sites (see figure 4.1).
Complexity of the reef habitat has been linked to diversity of fish populations in some
studies, but not necessarily to fish abundance (Chabanet et al. 1996). This stems from the
variation in different niches it provides. Two of the sites are also located within the Baie
Ternay Marine Park, therefore benefitting from the protection of this no take zone.
Anse Major Reef showed the lowest coral coverage of all sites surveyed during this phase,
therefore suggesting that this site is lacking in the structural and ecological complexity that
the coral cover provides. It is also located towards Bel Ombre and Beau Vallon, which are
areas of high boat and fishing activity.

4.7

Combined Fish Density 2005 2014

The mean density of fish for July 2013 to June 2014 was found to be 0.39 individuals per m2,
a marked increase from 2013. The mean density of fish over all survey sites shows minor
fluctuations throughout the years, however the density was never seen to rise or fall outside
of 0.25 and 0.35 per m2 until 2014 (figure 4.18). This suggests that populations were
relatively stable, and were oscillating around a maximum carrying capacity or stabilised at
33

the current fishing pressure. A change in fishing pressure or conditions may have alleviated

Density (m-2)

pressure o the population and allowed it to continue to increase in 2014.

0.45
0.40
0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year
Figure 4. 10 .

Cumulative mean density of fish (species, genus, or family as surveyed) per m2 from 2005 to
2014 across all successfully surveyed sites.

When dividing the densities between site substrate (granitic vs. carbonate) the results from
July 2013 to June 2014 show that granitic sites had a higher density than carbonate (figure
4.19). This has been consistent since 2011, however prior to this there have been
fluctuations in substrate relative richness since surveys began. This is interesting in itself, as
the two substrate compositions have greatly differing environments and food resources for
fish species, so would theoretically harbour varying levels of fish density per m.

0.45
0.40

Density (m-2)

0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10

Granitic

0.05

Carbonate

0.00
2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year
Figure 4. 19 Cumulative

mean density of fish (species, genus, or family as surveyed) per m2 from 2005 to
2014 at Granitic (n=) versus Carbonate (n=) sites.

34

4.8

Fish Densities with regards to Feeding Guilds

By analysing fish abundance by their functional role in the marine ecosystem it can give an
indication of changes within the community that may not initially be apparent by studying
population changes of individual species (Micheli & Halpern 2005). Analysis using feeding
guilds; determined by the primary food source of individual species, is a common approach
to assessing functional diversity. These feeding guilds and the species that fall within them
are taken from Obura and Grimsditch (2009), and further adapted to the specific species
found within Seychelles in agreement with our partners. A full list of the relative guilds and
the divided species can be found in appendix C.
The most dominant feeding guild across all sites is herbivores (figure 4.20), comprising
surgeonfish (Acanthuridae), rabbitfish (Siganidae) and parrotfish (Scaridae). This is normal
for most ecosystems as they support the higher trophic levels. This guild has remained at a
relatively stable abundance during all survey years, increasing slowly in density from 2006
onwards. 2014 Shows a large rise in numbers to the highest density for all surveyed years
and shows a recovery of numbers since the drop from 2011 to 2013.

0.25

Planktivores
Piscivorous

0.20

Density (m-2)

Corallivores

0.15

Varied diet
Invertivores

0.10

Herbivores

0.05
0.00
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Corallivore /
Herbivore
Corallivore /
Invertivore

Year
Figure 4. 2011 Comparison of fish feeding guilds through density per m across all sites, 2005 2014.

If we look at feeding guilds excluding herbivores (Figure 4.21), there are relatively small
fluctuations for most guilds. We see a decline in planktivores and those with varied diet, with
piscivores being one of the only guilds to remain relatively stable. All other guilds show
some form of increase, however this is most notable in the corallivores. This guild consists of
35

obligate coral feeders within the butterfly fish family Chaetodontidae and has displayed the
greatest change in abundance across the survey years, increasing from 0.006 in 2005 to
0.049 per m2 in 2014.

0.06
Planktivores

0.05

Density (m-2)

Piscivorous

0.04

Corallivores
Varied diet

0.03

Invertivores

0.02

Corallivore /
Herbivore
Corallivore /
Invertivore

0.01
0.00
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year
Figure 4. 2112 Comparison of feeding guilds through density per m across all sites, 2005 2014, disregarding
herbivores.

4.9

Influence of Marine Protected Areas on Fish Densities 2005 2014

In analysing the data between the mean density of fish per m2 within marine protected areas
(MPAs) and unprotected areas there is a consistently higher density within MPAs (figure
4.22). With the exception of the Jan - Mar 2010 survey phase, MPAs have had an average
greater density of 0.047 per m2.

36

Density (m-2)

0.50
0.45
0.40
0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00

Protected
Unprotected

Phase
Figure 4. 2213 Overall mean density per m of fish inside and outside marine protected areas, Nov-Dec 2005 to Jan-Jun
2014.

Separating the sites into granitic and carbonate reveals that this substrate has no influence
on mean density levels of fish; the protected sites on either type harboured a higher density
overall (figure 4.23; figure 4.24).Carbonate sites within MPAs have always held a higher
density of fish since 2005, with the July 2013 to June 2014 phase containing a mean density
of 0.44 per m2 within MPAs compared to 0.36 per m2 in the carbonate sites outside protected
zones (fig. 4.23).

0.60

Protected
Unprotected

Density (m-2)

0.50
0.40
0.30
0.20
0.10
0.00

Phase
Figure 4. 2314 Mean density of fish per m on carbonate substrate sites inside and outside marine protected areas,
Nov-Dec 2005 to Jan-Jun 2014.

37

Granitic sites have had a much less significant difference between the years, continuously
fluctuating in relevant densities. The July 2013 to June 2014 results show that mean density
for granitic unprotected sites is currently higher at 0.42 per m2 compared with 0.36 per m2

Density (m-2)

within protected zones (figure 4.24).

0.45
0.40
0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00

Protected
Unprotected

Phase
Figure 4. 24 Mean density of fish per m on granitic substrate sites inside and outside marine protected areas, Nov-Dec
2005 to Jan-Jun 2014.

4.10 Fish Species Diversity


Diversity refers to the species-richness, or number of separate species, within the survey
site as opposed to the relative abundance of fish. The site found to have the highest
diversity in 2014 was Site Y with 50 species. The lowest diversity was found at Auberge
Reef with 31 species and Willie's Bay Reef with 32 (figure 4.25). In addition, comparing sites
inside Marine Protected Areas to those outside revealed that MPAs contained a higher
number of species on average than non-protected areas with 40 species in MPAs and 38.1
in areas outside.

38

60

Diversity

50
40
30
20
10
0

Site
Figure 4. 155 Species-richness (number of fish species found) across all survey sites along NW Mah, 2014. Lighter
bars denote sites within Marine Protected Areas and darker denote non-protected sites.

A comparison of species-richness between the same sites surveyed in 2005 and the results
from 2014 reveal a significant increase in the number of surveyed fish species present
across all areas (figure 4.26); with a mean increase of 10.25 species ( 1.66 SE) over all

# Species

sites.

60
50
40
30
20
10
0

2005
2014

Site

Figure 4. 166 A comparison of species-richness (number of fish species) between the same sites of NW Mah in 2005
and in 2014.

39

4.11 Commercial Fish Sizing Results


All volunteers are assessed on their ability to estimate size of the commercial fish species
when sighted underwater. Assessment was carried out by use of on-land training, where
volunteers are asked to size objects from varying distances and instant feedback is given.
On-land testing is also given by sizing a line with artificial fish attached from a distance of no
closer than 2m. In-water assessment was carried out using a line with sections of
polyurethane piping of known length. Volunteers estimate the lengths underwater and results
and feedback are given after each dive. Along with practice methodology, assessment is
also undertaken within the fish survey practice methodology under the supervision of a staff
member. All volunteers estimates are checked against the staffs recording. Only when a
volunteer displayed 100% accuracy in sizing fish to the 10cm bandwidth on both in-water
piping assessment and the practice surveys were they allowed to conduct surveys. All
volunteers from the past survey phase could accurately define the size of all commercial fish
species to within the 10cm bandwidth required.

40

4.12 Invertebrate Densities from 10m Transects


Specific surveyed invertebrate species have increased across all sites since surveys began
in 2005 with the exception of Platyhelminthes and Black Spined Urchins, which are found at
stable densities. The most significant increases in density are seen in the Arthropoda and
Mollusca phyla. The Arthropoda phyla has increased from low level densities found in 2005
of 0.01 individuals per m2 up to the third most abundant invertebrate found in 2014, the
Mollusca phyla has shown a similar increase with time and become the most abundant in
2014; results from 2014 show an increase in the density to 1.82 individuals per m2.
Echinodermata phyla has also been increasing throughout the survey program and in 2014

Density (individuals/m2)

is the second most abundant with a density of 1.72 individuals m2 (figure 4.27).
2.00

Annelida

1.80

Platyhelminthes

1.60

Arthropoda

1.40

Mollusca

1.20

Echinodermata

1.00

Black Spined Sea


Urchins

0.80
0.60
0.40
0.20
0.00

Phase
Figure 4. 177 Mean density (individuals per m) of invertebrate phyla and black spined sea urchins at all sites, for
every survey period from 2005 to 2014.

When the results are divided by substrate type the invertebrate densities show differences
between them. Granitic sites show a greater spread in the densities of the surveyed
invertebrates. The Arthropoda phyla has increased significantly from 2005 but there is a
marked increase in their abundance from 2008, results for 2014 show Mollusca phyla to be
the dominant group on granitic sites. This has mainly been due to the significant decrease in
the Arthrapoda phyla in 2014 reducing by 0.36 individuals per m2 in a single year, this large
change in density over a single year is seen in the results previously. In 2014 Mollusca
41

increased by 1.53 individuals per m2 in a single year, the largest increase to date (figure

Density (individials/m2)

4.28).

3.0
2.8
2.6
2.4
2.2
2.0
1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.0

Annelida
Platyhelminthes
Arthropoda
Mollusca
Echinodermata
Black Spined Sea
Urchins

Phase
Figure 4. 28 Mean density (individuals per m) of invertebrate phyla and black spined sea urchins at granitic reef sites,
for every survey period from 2005 to 2014.

Carbonate reef sites have shown an increase in all survey invertebrates in 2014 however the
relative dominance of the phyla remain consistent with 2014 exception of Mollusca, which is
now the most dominant at 1.82 individuals per m2. All other trends are almost identical to
that of invertebrates found at granitic sites (figure 4.28).

42

2.00
Annelida

Density (individials/m2)

1.80

Platyhelminthes

1.60

Arthropoda

1.40

Mollusca

1.20

Echinodermata

1.00

Black Spined Sea Urchins

0.80
0.60
0.40
0.20
0.00

Phase
Figure 4. 189 Mean density (individuals per m) of invertebrate phyla and black spined sea urchins at carbonate reef
sites, for every survey period from 2005 to 2014.

4.13 Invertebrate Densities from 50m Belts


In total 94 invertebrate abundance belts were completed across all the sites surveyed,
covering a total area of 23,500m2.The trends in density levels found during 2014 continue
those found with all previous survey phases. Short-spine (Echinothrix sp.) at 0.30 per m2 ,
long-spine (Diadema sp.) at 0.11 per m2 and Drupella (Drupella sp.) at 0.10 per m2 (figure
4.30) still show the highest abundance of all the surveyed invertebrates; significantly higher

Density (individials/m2)

than all other invertebrate species found.

0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00

Invertebrate Species
2

Figure 4. 3019 Mean density per m of all surveyed invertebrate species across north-west Mah, 2014.

43

When dividing the two most abundant invertebrates by substrate type some interesting
trends can be observed (figure 4.31). Short-spine sea urchins show a preference to granitic
substrate, indicated by the higher density levels at these sites; whereas long-spine sea
urchins display similar density levels over both substrates; not indicating any preference.
Through the monitoring program short spine urchins have been decreasing at a steady rate
on carbonate sites and a similar decrease is seen from 2011 on the granitic sites, after an
initial rise in 2010. 2014 showed the steepest decrease in short spine numbers to their
lowest level since surveying began. Long spine urchins have been much more stable in
numbers from 2009, however 2014 results show a continuation in the decrease in number at
the granitic sites.

Mean density (per m2)

0.60
0.50

Longspine
Carbonate

0.40

Shortspine
Carbonate

0.30

Longspine
Granitic

0.20

Shortspine
Granitic

0.10
0.00
2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year
2

Figure 4. 3120 Mean density per m of all surveyed invertebrate species across north-westMah from 2009 - 2014.

Figure 4.32 shows the density levels of the major corallivorous invertebrates of Crown of
Thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci), Cushion Starfish (Culcita spp.) and Drupella snails.
Studies of the trends in the corallivorous invertebrates show significant, almost alarming,
increases in abundances for the Drupella sp. in recent years, however the density has
decreased for 2014 these species still remain in much higher abundance levels than the
other corallivorous invertebrates.

44

0.35
0.3

Density (m-2)

0.25

Cushion seastar
Crown of Thorns seastar
Drupella

0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0

Phase

Figure 4. 3221 Mean density per m of Cushion Seastar (Culcita spp.), Crown of Thorns (Acanthasterplanci) and the
gastropods Drupella sp. from 2009 - 2014 across all sites.

45

4.14 Sea Cucumber Densities


The total number of sea cucumbers found across all survey sites of north-west Mah was
241 individuals for 2014 across the sites surveyed. Figure 4.33 shows the total number of
sea cucumbers divided by the number of sites surveyed for each year. This graph clearly
displays after the initial rapid decrease in abundance of sea cucumbers seen in 2007 the

Mean # cucumbers per site

populations are increasing across all the survey sites.

18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year
Figure 4. 3322 Mean Number of sea cucumbers recorded per site from 2006 - 2014.

Analysis of individual sea cucumber species reveals that both Pearsonothurian graeffei and
Stichopus spp. remain the most abundant sea cucumbers across all sites (figure 4.34).
Interestingly, the combination of a steep reduction in the density of Stichopus sp. and a
continued increase in Pearsonothurian graeffei numbers has lead to Pearsonothurian
graeffei becoming the dominant sea cucumber species for 2014. High abundances of the top
three is significant as they are of little commercial value, compared to the other surveyed sea
cucumbers which show lower abundance levels.

46

Holothuria atra

0.016

Density (m-2)

*Holothuria fuscopunctata

0.014

*Holothuria fuscogilva

0.012

*Holothuria nobilis
*Holothuria sp. (Pentard)

0.010

Bohadschia sp.
Actinopyga sp.

0.008

*Actinopyga mauuritiana

0.006

Stichopus sp.

0.004

*Thelenota ananas
Pearsonothurian graeffei

0.002
0.000
2008

Holothuria edulis
Thelenota anax

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year
2

Figure 4. 3423 Density per m of individual sea cucumber species across all survey sites of north-west Mah from
2008 - 2014.

5 Discussion
5.1

Coral Surveys: LIT

Overall mean coral coverage has increased significantly over the past seven years of reef
monitoring conducted by GVI across North West Mah. Mean percentage coral coverage
has increased from 10.25% in 2005 to 39.70% in 2014. Granitic sites have reached a new
maxima in percentage coral cover of 42.9% for the survey program in 2014 whilst cover at
carbonate sites for 2014 was 35.50%. However overall since 2010, the rate of coral growth
seems to have slowed; coral cover only increased by 5.30% between 2010 and 2014,
opposed to the rate between 2008 and 2010 of 8.16% increase. Yet, overall any increase in
cover is encouraging for the continued regeneration of the reefs after the mass coral
bleaching event in 1998.
Granitic sites have maintained the higher coral coverage throughout the survey program.
Engelhardt (2004) attributes the elevated coral cover at granitic sites to higher water clarity
linked to their position. Granitic sites are found at more exposed points with high water flow,
47

whereas many carbonate sites are within sheltered bays receiving lower water flow rates
resulting in higher nutrient and sediment levels through run off from terrestrial sources. The
lower flow rates found in these sheltered bays means these high nutrient and sediment
levels persist which can negatively affect coral growth (Nugues & Roberts 2003; FerrierPage`s et al. 2000; Ward & Harrison 2000). Overall percentage coral cover within the Marine
Parks of both Baie Ternay and Port Launay show higher coral cover. Inside the Marine
Parks, average percentage coral cover was 48.8%, whereas outside these protected areas it
was only 36.5%. This can attest to the importance of overall ecosystem health for resilience
of the corals species.
Additional comparisons can be made between site specific data from the monitoring
conducted in 2005 directly to the results of 2014. Overall coral cover has increased
significantly between these years but the rate of change is different depending on which
survey site is focused on. Highest coral cover found in 2005 was 16.67% at Therese North
End whereas for 2014 maximum was found at Port Launay West Rocks with 65.1%. The
range in coral cover (sites displaying highest and lowest coral cover) is also drastically
different between the years. 2005 displayed a range of 14.98% whereas 2014 displayed
54.8% difference in coral cover. This indicates that the more derogated sites are lagging far
behind the sites with a higher rate in coral growth. In general there has been a three-fold
increase in percentage cover across all sites but Anse Major Reef and Willie's Bay Reef are
increasing at rates of around half the mean.
Continual benthic coverage is recorded for all line-intersect transects, results averaged over
all sites for 2014 found 52.31% of coverage was algae compared to 36.48% for coral cover.
This shows algal dominance across all sites for 2014; however analysing the coverage of
algal species shows that 88.2% of the algae recorded was turf algae; this diminutive,
filamentous algal is associated with relatively pristine, healthy reef systems and is a major
contributor to high algal productivity (Steneck 1988; Klumpp & McKinnon 1989). While it is
well established that macro algae can outcompete and overgrow corals (Birkeland 1977;
Hughes 1994; Jompa & McCook 2002a, 2002b) results from 2014 found this algal to
compose just 0.26% of total algal coverage.
Analysis of the other algae and epibenthic organisms, with the exception of Scleractinian
corals, shows low coverage of below 12.0% on both granitic and carbonate reefs. The
carbonate reefs show a larger range in the densities of these other organisms. Corallimorphs
/ Zooanthids and soft corals on carbonate sites have relative high densities, notable as they

48

compete rigorously with scleractinian coral for space (Lindn et al. 2002); although densities
are still much lower than that of coral. Granitic sites show lower coverage of algae and
epibenthic organisms with the exception of coralline algae. Coralline algae coverage shows
a similar trend on both substrates. Increase in coverage from the minimum in 2010. High
coverage of coralline algae indicates consolidation of reef structure (Grimsditch et al. 2006).
This slow rise in the coverage of coralline algae could increase the consolidation of loose
rubble on the surface of the reef, which is important as loose rubble can damage adult coral
colonies, but has a more dramatic effect on the coral recruitment rates; as the abrasion can
damage and remove newly settled recruit corals (Turner et al. 2002).
Structural complexity of the reefs of the Seychelles is showing very positive recovery post
the 1998 bleaching event. Structural complexity of the reefs is important for the overall
health and diversity of the reef ecosystem, a complex reef structure allows for extensive
habitat space for other organisms such as fish and invertebrate species to flourish (Garpe et
al. 2006; Glynn 2006; Graham et al. 2006). Branching coral life forms have the effect of
increasing the physical matrix of the reef by increasing its structural complexity. Acropora
and Pocillopora species predominantly display the branching life forms (Veron 2000) these
fast growing species are hardest hit by coral bleaching events (McClanahan et al. 2004), but
also fastest to recover. Previous coral surveys from Seychelles post 1998 found very low
coverage of the coral species Acropora and Pocillopora. Whereas the massive species,
those that are more resilient to coral bleaching, such as Porites and Goniopora dominated
the coverage (Engelhardt et al. 2003). Branching coral cover continued to increase on both
substrates in 2014, following the trend seen throughout the monitoring program. Since 2010
the encrusting life form has made up around 30% of the corals surveyed whereas branching
corals have increased from 40% to 50% in the same time period. The continued growth of
this life form is a positive sign of reef recovery and increasing structural complexity, which
has the potential to support a greater abundance and diversity of reef organisms.
Differences in the structural complexity of the two substrate types is also evident. Carbonate
reefs currently maintain a very high percentage of branching corals; making up 58.02% of
corals found. However this is a decrease from 2013, wherein branching corals were 61.37%
of recorded corals. Granitic sites have been continuously dominated by encrusting corals
which contribute little to structural complexity of the reefs, however the granitic sites have
inherent complexity from granitic boulders located across the sites; this is a common feature
of all the granitic sites that are surveyed. On granitic sites the coverage of encrusting corals
has been slowly decreasing as the branching corals increase as seen in 2014 with

49

encrusting being 40.69% of corals found and branching being 41.97% of corals found. It
would appear this year has seen the beginning of this change in dominant lifeform
abundance. If these trends persist within the next few years branching corals will dominant
both granitic and carbonate reef substrate.
The diversity of coral on the surveyed reefs has increased through the monitoring program.
Initially a rapid increase in the mean diversity was seen up until 2007, then stabilised from
this point at a mean diversity of around 30 genera per site. Diversity divided by carbonate
and granitic reefs has always been similar and the results from 2014 are no exception,
finding an average of 31 and 32 genera on granitic and carbonate sites, respectively. It is
interesting to note that although the number of different genera found overall seems to have
stabilised, the spread of coral genera found at every site is increasing. Through analysing
the number of coral genera found at every site; in 2005 only four coral genera were found at
each, however, in 2014 a minimum of 27 coral genera were found at every site. Indicating
that although overall diversity has remained relatively stable the corals already established
on some of the reefs are settling into new areas.
5.2

Coral Surveys - Recruitment

Coral recruitment monitoring for 2013 indicates that conclusions made in 2010; that mean
recruit density had stabilised at around 12.0 14.0 recruits per m2, has continued through
2013, as the average density was 12.81 per m2. This indicates a stabilized system with
increased resilience to possible future degradation event. As the coral recruitment rate is
one of the most important aspects of regeneration of reefs after disturbance (Connel 1997,
Hughes & Tanner 2000, Syms & Jones 2000, Hughes et al. 2003).
When looking at the other aspects of coral recruitment; such as substrate preference,
density of recruits with regard to size class and most notably for this report the trends in
density and relative abundance of the coral families, additional information and conclusions
can be drawn above that of overall mean density.
Coral recruit density with regards to substrate type (granitic vs. carbonate) shows a
decrease from the density maxima on both substrates in 2011. The decrease on carbonate
reefs however is more pronounced. Although, when looking at the trend over time, density
changes are seen year on year and with such a minor change this year it is of little concern.
What has remained stable is the continual dominance of the granitic reefs in terms of recruit
density. This is to be expected as the granitic reefs provide a more suitable environment for
50

coral recruitment, in terms of increased substrate availability and greater exposure to


offshore currents due to their position, providing clear offshore waters and stable
temperature / salinity gradients.
Recruit size class analysis shows that the larger, more dominant 2-5cm size category has
decreased in density as well as the 0-2cm size category. This drop in the smaller size class
could indicate a reduction in the spawning of adult colonies during 2013, as smaller size
class indicates early settlement of coral juveniles.
For 2013, the changes in family density were analysed, in detail, using differing analysis
techniques to try to identify changes in the recruitment density and composition at the family
level. Recorded family density followed trends seen in recent years with the family groups of
Faviidae, Poritidae and Acroporidae dominating. However this way of looking at the results
doesnt account for the number of genus within each family. For further analysis of the
family density all data was then normalised and converted to relative abundance to give a
better visual representation of changes in family density. This analysis shows that the
Poritidae family has highest relative abundance and has remained so since the surveys
began. This is a very positive sign in terms of overall reef growth as the Porites genus within
the Poritidae family is one of the principle reef building scleractinian corals contributing
heavily to the structure of the reef. Acroporidae has had the biggest change in relative
abundance increasing to the second most abundant coral family group from 2008, showing a
faster rate of increase than the Poritidae family.
The second type of analysis used to look at changes in family density is the percentage
composition of total recorded density. This type of analysis can indicate relative recruitment
rates. Analysis has shown that the Acroporidae family is making up a larger proportion of all
recruits found, increasing from 10.2% in 2005 to 18.5% in 2013, which is the greatest
increase seen across all family groups. The Poritidae family also shows a high abundance
and rate of increase as it still remains the dominant family group as it has increased in
overall composition from 32.9% in 2005 to 37.1% in 2013. Although overall recruit density is
increasing this indicates that if current trends remain stable the Acroporidae family could
make up the greater proportion of the total recruits found in future surveys.

51

5.3

Fish Surveys

This section of the report contains results from surveys conducted between July 2013 to
June 2014, assessing the abundance and diversity of both reef and commercial fish species.
The true value of the data set is in the contribution it makes to the larger data set over the
last 8 years of surveying. This not only gives important insights into the status of coral reefs
around Mah, but also helps increase knowledge on reefs around the world, and helps us to
understand how reefs in general can recover from bleaching events such as in 1998.
After 1998 reefs around the North-West of Mah saw up to 90 per cent coral mortality,
resulting in a huge drop in coral cover and diversity. The main life forms that survived were
the more resilient massive and encrusting corals, such as those within the Faviidae and
Porites families. This affected many of the biotic and abiotic resources for reef fish, and
subsequently affected the composition of the reef fish community. One way of assessing
these changes is to look at the trends of the functional diversity of the community (Figure
4.13). Breaking down the data by feeding guilds can indicate phase shifts within the coral
reef ecosystem. Herbivores and piscivores show very little changes throughout survey
history, with only a few fluctuations. Without having direct reliance on the scleractinian coral
itself the dramatic decrease in coral coverage would not have had the same impacts on
resource availability for these guilds. In fact, the decrease in coral coverage had a reverse
effect on algal growth, with the algae coverage at an all-time high in the years directly
following the bleaching. The stable populations of herbivores on the reefs kept this bloom in
check, allowing the slow regrowth of coral.
It is interesting to see a gradual but steady decline in planktivores across our survey sites, as
their resources come solely from the water column and are therefore unaffected by the
phase shifts in the coral beneath them (Sluka & Miller 2001). Plankton density is related to
changes in water temperature and coastal currents. When the winds switch direction in May
and June, this results in upwelling around the North-West of Mah bringing cold, nutrient rich
water towards the surface. This results in cycles of phyto and zooplankton blooms until the
winds switch once more in September. Analysing fish densities on a yearly basis excludes
these short term cycles, and does not explain the gradual decline. More research into factors
affecting plankton density over long timescales is required in order to explain this trend.
Studies have indicated that the most notable changes to reef fish communities following a
large scale stochastic event, such as in 1998, are most apparent in specialist species
(Graham et al. 2007). We can see this in the data set with the changes to the density of
52

corallivores. Corallivores have gone from being one of the lowest feeding guilds when
surveys began to one of the most dominant, second only to herbivores (figure 4.13). The
corallivore guild comprises of 6 species, but density increase has primarily been seen for
Chaetodon trifasciatus,Chaetodon trifascialis andChaetodon zanzibariensis. It may be that
for the obligate corallivores within the butterflyfish family these 3 are the most competitive
species.

Since 2005, diversity in coral life forms has increased with branching now being one of the
dominant life forms. Studies have linked complexity of the reef substrata with fish diversity,
but not necessarily fish abundance (Chabanet et al. 1996; Luckhurst & Luckhurst 1978;
Talbot et al. 1978; Roberts & Ormond 1987). This can be seen in the data set whereby mean
density of all fish surveyed does not change very much throughout survey history, it is the
composition of species that changes. Branching corals, such as Acropora spp. provide areas
for refuge for small fish and invertebrates, helping to increase diversity and create a more
complex food web. This is extremely important, as reefs with a more natural and diverse
composition of fauna are more likely to recover from stochastic events. If ecosystems are
built upon a simplified food chain, then if one species is removed this affects the entire chain.
For those ecosystems that are more complex and varied, if one species suffers and is lost
from the food web, other options for food and resources are still available and species can
adapt. A number of studies support this theory whereby an increase in coral diversity results
in an increase in micro-habitats which in turn supports a wider variety of species (Carpenter
et al. 1981; Sano et al. 1984, 1987; Bell and Galzin 1984, 1988, Barbault 1992).
MPAs within Seychelles are designated zones where the removal of any species is illegal
and the anchoring of boats and level of tourism is monitored. These no-take zones provide
important refuge areas for targeted fish species, but also may potentially benefit fish stocks
through the theory of spillover, the net export of adult fish, from an area of high density to
adjacent non-protected areas of lower fish density (Abesamis & Russ 2005). A number of
studies show evidence that density of species targeted by fisheries increases within MPAs
(Gell & Roberts 2002, Halpern 2003, Sobel & Dahlgren 2004). The results show that MPAs
do harbour a higher mean density of fish per m2, with an average of 0.402 fish per m found
within the MPAs compared to 0.388 per m outside. Carbonate sites typically hold higher
density levels inside protected zones, whereas granitic sites constantly fluctuate between
dominance. This could be in part due to the fact that these deeper and typically more
exposed sites usually home species within the families Lutjanidae and Lethrinidae which
tend to be less territorial than those that are more closely associated with the carbonate
53

reefs. It is also interesting to note that sites immediately adjacent to MPAs, such as Baie
Ternay Lighthouse and Site Y also have comparatively high numbers of fish. Site Y, for
example, had a high density of commercial fish species at 0.12 individuals per m. These
sites also showed greater species diversity (figure 4.20). This supports the theory that MPAs
help to protect and create a more natural complex ecosystem.
Despite clearly holding healthier abundance levels of fish, it is difficult to measure the
effectiveness of MPAs due to many reasons, and multiple studies have attempted to do so
(Field et al. 2006). It is also difficult to control for the selectiveness of MPAs. Most MPAs are
chosen for their higher densities and species-richness of fish and other organisms, as well
as their potential for recruitment and juvenile species habitat. It is reasonable, then, that in
studying the densities of fish within and outside of the protected areas that the MPA would
hold a higher number than non-protected areas as it originally did so. In analysing the data
of both fish densities and coral health since 1998, however, MPAs clearly recovered faster
than non-protected areas and have achieved higher density levels overall.
From the data we can see that MPAs are an important management tool to help protect
against over exploitation of target species and a reduction in undesirable fishing induced
impacts on non-target species and fishing-induced impacts to habitat (NRC 2001; Gerber et
al. 2003; Halpern 2003). The continued protection of these areas is paramount to
maintaining healthy fish populations. The findings within this report highlight the need for
thorough management of both fish stocks and of coral reef areas to provide some insurance
against larger-scale disturbances, such as the 1998 event.

54

5.4

Invertebrate Surveys

Invertebrates have been studied as biological indicators within terrestrial and aquatic
ecosystems extensively, including coral reef habitats. Their importance lies in their
interactions with the reef habitat, and density may reflect changes in reef composition and
structure. Densities of surveyed invertebrates from the 10m belt transects have increased
since the beginning of the monitoring in 2005, however 2014 results show a reduction in all
surveyed invertebrates from 2013 with the exception of black spine urchins and Molluscs.
Platyhelminthes show low densities due to their lifestyle; these species are generally
nocturnal and found mostly under the rock and rubble of the reef (Coleman 2000), but are
also hard to spot as most species are small and camouflaged.
Results from 2014 show a drop in density for all but these two phyla, and it is the first
reduction seen in both phylum since 2009. Mollusca shows the greatest increase overall and
is seen increasing at both granitic and carbonate sites. Whereas the Arthropoda phyla has
decreased in density at carbonate sites but has increased at granitic sites. Again when
looking at species changes within the Arthopoda phyla, the reduction in density is most likely
caused by a decrease in the numbers of crabs seen on carbonate sites which has reduced
by 0.28 individuals per m2. Reductions in the Annelida phylum are not as dramatic and follow
trends seen since 2012. In this case the drivers behind the reductions is unclear and will be
focused on through the monitoring program should these decreases continue.
The survey list for invertebrates on the 50m belts focuses on commercially important
invertebrates and key species, which indicate ecosystem change. Results from 2014 show a
change in trends seen in recent years with regards to the Echinoidea phyla with slow
reductions through the years until present, where a slight increase is seen. The most
dramatic change is within the corallivorous species, Drupella snails. Density levels increased
significantly since 2010 reaching a maximum in 2012, dropped slightly in 2013, have shown
a major spike in 2014 and have remained significantly higher than the other corallivorous
invertebrates surveyed. The most likely explanation for the high numbers of Drupella is that it
is coupled with the increase in the branching coral Acropora spp., their preferred food source
and habitat. With continued monitoring it will indicate whether this population is increasing to
damaging levels. Continued monitoring of these invertebrate species will be critical for
identifying the trends and causes for the reduction in their numbers in recent years.

55

6 Additional Ecosystem Monitoring


6.1.

Turtles

Five species of marine turtles are found in Seychelles waters: the leatherback (Dermochelys
coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), hawksbill
(Eretmochelys imbricata), and green (Chelonia mydas) (IUCN 1996).

The leatherback,

loggerhead and olive ridley, although common to parts of the Western Indian Ocean, are not
thought to currently nest in the Seychelles and are rarely seen, especially in the Inner
Islands. However, the hawksbill and green are residents in coastal waters of the Seychelles,
nest on the beaches, and are commonly observed. All five species found in the Seychelles
face the combined threats of poaching, pollution and loss of nesting sites, and are listed by
IUCN as endangered or critically endangered. The Seychelles is considered one of the most
important sites for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle and is one of the only localities in
the world where they can be observed nesting during daylight hours.
GVI staff and volunteers are trained in turtle biology and the identification of the two species
commonly seen around north-west Mah, C. mydas and E. Imbricata, through lectures and
Power Point presentations. Volunteers are also trained in survey methodology for water
based and land based turtle surveys.
6.1.1. Incidental Turtle Sightings
For every dive undertaken by GVI, a record of turtle observations is kept. The parameters
for each of GVIs dives are logged, regardless of whether or not a turtle was seen, enabling
the calculation of turtle frequency per dive and thus effort-related abundance. The species,
carapace length, sex, distinguishing features and behaviour of all turtles sighted is recorded
wherever possible.
Incidental sightings of sea turtles are divided into three month periods to more accurately
view the fluctuations that occur in and outside of nesting season. From July to September
2013 out of the 210 boats that went out a total of 99 turtles were sighted. This figure
discounts any turtle behaviour dives, as the focus of these dives is to search for turtles,
therefore sightings are not incidental. Of these sightings, 74 were identified as hawksbill
turtles and 25 as green turtles, which gave an overall sighting frequency of 47.1% .Within the
October to December period following this, 97 turtles were sighted on 194 dives; consisting
of 85 hawksbills and 128 green turtles, giving a higher overall sighting frequency of 50%

(figure 6.1). The overall sightings frequency then decreased for the next two periods. For
January 2104 to March 2014 72 turtles were found on 147 dives, 55 hawksbills and 17
56

greens with an overall frequency of 49%. For April 2104 to June 2014 55 turtles were found

Frequency of Sighting (%)

on 139 dives, 37 hawksbills and 18 greens with an overall frequency of 39.6%.

60

Hawksbill Turtles

50

Green Turtles

40
30
20
10
0

Phase
Figure 6. 1 Frequency (%) of hawksbill and green turtle sightings around north-westMah from Oct- Dec 2005 to AprilJun 2014.

In analysing the sightings results the frequency found for the months within October to
December is comparatively higher than for those within July to September; a pattern that can
be observed for hawksbills throughout our recorded data. This increase in encounters in the
Seychelles coastal waters during this time can in part be explained by the immigration of
sexually mature turtles to these designated nesting areas (Witzell 1983, Houghton et al.
2003, Ellis & Balazs 1998). This can be seen by a 100% increase in sighting frequency for
adult hawksbills in October to December. Carapace length can be used as a guide to the
stage of sexual maturity of sea turtles, therefore for every turtle sighting the curved carapace
length (CCL) is estimated. The approximate minimum carapace length of breeding-age
female green and hawksbill turtles is 105cm and 80cm respectively (Mrosovsky 1983). The
mean estimated carapace length for hawksbill turtles during the January to March and April
to June period was 52.70cm and 49.30cm respectively (figure 6.2.). This reveals a general
steady population of sexually immature sea turtles.

57

Mean carapace lengtrh (cm)

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Phase
Figure 6. 2 Mean carapace length of hawksbill turtles around north-west Mah from Jan- Mar 2006 to Apr- Jun 2014.

6.1.2. Beach Patrols for Nesting Turtles


Beach patrols are conducted on north-west Mah during the Hawksbill turtle nesting season
from October to March. This land-based turtle monitoring work includes beach walks,
documentation of nesting tracks, and investigation of newly hatched clutches. Beach patrols
are carried out weekly at beaches local to the Cap Ternay research station (Anse du Riz and
Anse Major) to monitor nesting turtle activity. The surveys are conducted on foot, with the
teams searching for signs of tracks or body pits walking along the upper beach, on the main
beach, and also within the coastal vegetation. Within the October to December period, 8
beach patrols were conducted on both Anse du Riz and Anse Major beach, with one set of
Hawksbill tracks found as well as one nesting Hawksbill, indicating nesting activity at these
sites.
6.1.3. In-water Surveys of Turtle Behaviour
In studies concentrating on the home ranges of sea turtles it has been found that normal
daily activities of sea turtles centre around areas of high food availability and resource
quality. When sufficient resources are available, individuals develop affinities for specific
areas (Makowski et al. 2006). Preliminary results from research conducted by Von Brandis in
the Amirantes, Seychelles, established that philopatric behaviour is common among foraging
hawksbill turtles, and extensive information on individuals and their energy budgets can be
gathered using relatively non-invasive sampling protocols (Von Brandis pers. comm.). Focal
behavioural studies work on the philosophy that an individual, when followed and observed
correctly, can provide a wealth of ecological information that would otherwise be unnoticed in

58

a simple point count survey. These in water behavioural studies also help to ground truth
studies done using electronic data such as satellite tagging (Houghton et al. 2003).
Our objective is to document important interactions between hawksbill turtles and their
environment while obtaining information on feeding preferences and the number of
individuals displaying philopatric behaviour within the Baie Ternay Marine Reserve.
Volunteers use SCUBA equipment to undertake a U-shaped search pattern. Divers look for
focal animals and, upon finding an individual, follow and document all behaviours observed.
Environmental conditions can dictate at what distance accurate observations are made
without altering normal behaviour but in general a distance of no closer than 5m is sufficient.
A continuous time scale of data is used; divers stay with any individual encountered for as
long as possible even if another individual is located. In the event that another turtle is found,
the second member of the buddy pair may start to document behaviour but at no time are
buddy pairs to become separated by more than 2m. Any characteristic markings should be
documented and the use of underwater photography is highly desirable for turtle
identification and determining unknown prey items. Due to logistical constraints, it is only
possible for the study in Baie Ternay to be carried out on a weekly basis, incorporating two
45 minute dives with most volunteers participating in one dive; however it is an interesting
addition to the routine for volunteers, enhancing their skill set and appreciation for marine
ecological fieldwork.
For the period of July to December 2013 and January to June 2014 a total 68 and 18 turtles,
respectively, were sited on behavioural surveys. Of the 68 turtles sighted in July to
December 2013, 57 were hawksbills and 10 were green, with 1 turtle sighted but not
identified to species level. The mean carapace length (CCL) was 57.10 cm. January to June
2014 showed a much lower sighting frequency with only 1 green turtle and 17 hawksbills.
The mean CCL for this phase was 70.0cm. This later phase shows higher CCL values
whereas the first phase has a higher sighting frequency of larger turtles. This is to be
expected as the first phase is at the end of the nesting season.
Of the turtles sighted, the greatest frequency of sightings occurred within the 0-10m depth
class, with only eight sightings recorded outside of these depths. The shallow reef slope of
Baie Ternay Centre does bias the results towards the shallower depth class, as the 0-10m
range covers a larger area of reef and therefore a larger area of foraging grounds. From the
studies it was noted that algae and soft coral were all common chosen food items.

59

Through the use of photo identification methods, spoken about in the following section, a
number of individual turtles have been seen returning to, or residing within, specific areas of
Baie Ternay Marine Park over a time scale of several months.
It is impossible to correctly determine the specific home range of sea turtles without the use
of remote telemetry, however one or more areas of disproportionately heavy use (i.e. core
areas) can be identified for some of the more frequently spotted turtles. Understanding the
spatial use patterns of sea turtles is fundamental to their conservation. This study reveals
that Baie Ternay remains an important habitat for both the endangered green and hawksbill
turtles; thus, further underscoring the need to develop and maintain conservation strategies
that address the impacts that threaten this region.
6.1.4. Photo Identification of Turtles
Throughout 2013 and beginning of 2014 the use of photo identification methods for turtles
was implemented into all dives where volunteers or staff had an underwater camera. The
post-ocular area of scales on the left and right cheeks of both hawksbill and green turtles are
unique to each individual, allowing for comparisons to be made between identification shots
taken on different dives. Individuals can be recognised through analysis of the photographs,
based on a code defined from the localisation and the number of sides of each scale of the
head profile. This method has been taken from the Kelonia Observatory for Sea Turtles in
Reunion Island (Ciccione et al. n.d.).
The ability to recognise individuals in a population allows for reliable information to be
collected on distribution, habitat use, or life history traits. It is from the increased emphasis
on the importance of photographic identification that resident turtles have been accurately
re-identified, and their home ranges consequently estimated within Baie Ternay marine
national park. A number of individual turtles, both hawksbill and greens, have been
accurately re-identified over varying time scales within the MPA. From data collected from
these sightings it has been noted that many have distinct habitat preferences and feeding
and resting areas. Photo-identification has also been critical in identifying the reasons behind
the low trend in carapace length and any incidence of philopatric behaviour.

6.2.

Crown of Thorns

Outbreaks of the coral predator, the Crown of Thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), were first
reported in 1996 and were active until 1998, when the reefs suffered from the bleachinginduced coral mortality (Engelhardt 2004). Normal density levels are less than one individual

60

per hectare (Pratchett 2007) and in these numbers A. planci can assist coral diversity by
feeding on the faster growing corals such as Acropora and Pocillopora, which are its
preferred prey items (Pratchett 2007) and early colonisers of degraded reefs that can outcompete slower growing corals (Veron 2000). In high numbers however the level of
competition for food drives the starfish to eat all species of corals and reefs can become
severely degraded with coral cover reduced to as little as 1% (CRC Reef 2001). The causes
of outbreaks are still not completely understood; it may be connected to overfishing of A.
planci predators, such as the giant triton shell, which is popular with shell collectors, or to
natural fluctuations (CRC Reef 2001). The most influential factor could be increased nutrient
levels in the oceans, from agricultural, domestic or industrial sources. A. planci are surveyed
as part of the invertebrate abundance and diversity belts and incidental sightings are also
documented after every dive. There were 395 separate recordings of A. planci across all
sites during July 2013 to June 2014.

6.3.

Cetacean Sightings

Cetaceans are considered to be under threat in many parts of the world and in response to
this threat, a national database of cetacean sightings, the Seychelles Marine Mammal
Observatory (SMMO), has been set up. GVI records all incidental cetacean sightings and
passes all data to MCSS for inclusion in the national database. Data recorded includes
date, time, location (including GPS coordinates where possible), environmental conditions,
number of individuals, distinguishing features, size, behaviour and species. There were only
8 separate recordings of dolphin sightings within July 2013 to June 2014. Pod sizes ranged
from 2 to 6 individuals and all were sighted from the boat. There were also 2 humpback
whale sightings, both seen with mother and calf.
6.4.

Whale Shark Sightings

The Seychelles is famous for its seasonal fluctuations in the abundance of whale sharks
(Rhincodontypus). However despite their public profile, relatively little is known about their
behaviour or the ecological factors, which influence their migratory patterns. A whale shark
monitoring programme was started in 1996 and is now the cornerstone of an eco-tourism
operation run by MCSS.

From 2001-2003, a tagging programme was initiated to study

migratory patterns as part of the Seychelles Marine Ecosystem and Management Project
(SEYMEMP); it is now clear that the sharks seen in the Seychelles are not resident, but
range throughout the Indian Ocean. The oceanographic or biological conditions that
determine the movements are unclear, it is possible however that the sharks follow seasonal
variations in the abundance of the plankton on which they feed.

All sightings of whale


61

sharks are documented in as much detail as possible; including time, date, GPS point,
number, size of the individuals, sex, distinguishing features, behaviour and tag numbers if
present. Photographs are also taken whenever possible of the left and right side of the
thorax from the base of the pectoral fin to behind the gill area to be used as identification in
the global and regional database. Within the July 2013 to June 2014 period there were four
sightings of whale sharks within the months of August and December.
6.5.

Plankton Sampling

MCSS initiated a plankton monitoring programme in conjunction with the tagging and
incidental recording surveys in an attempt to correlate the frequency of whale shark sightings
with plankton levels. Plankton sampling has been run by MCSS since 2003 in conjunction
with their on-going monitoring and tagging programmes. GVI started to assist MCSS in the
collection of plankton data in July 2004, and have since carried out the survey on a weekly
basis. Five plankton tows are carried out to the North West side of Baie Ternay Lighthouse,
just outside of Baie Ternay, between 08:00 and 11:00 hours. The tows are carried out along
a North Westerly course from Baie Ternay Lighthouse. In order to sample over a range of
depths the net is let out 5m every 30 seconds (up to 50m). Samples are collected in the cod
end of the net, decanted into a receptacle and preserved in formalin. After the survey and
the filtering process, they are sent to MCSS for measurement of wet weight and species
classification. Environmental conditions are also noted (sea state, cloud cover and turbidity).
Plankton tows were successfully conducted on a weekly basis from July 2013 to June 2014
when weather conditions allowed and all samples were sent on to MCSS for analysis.

62

7. Non-survey Programmes
7.1 Extra Programmes
7.1.1

Internships

GVI Seychelles currently runs internship programs in conjunction with the marine research
activities. Interns typically spend 8 - 12 weeks with GVI on the marine expedition and then if
the volunteer is participating in the dive master internship a further twelve weeks at a dive
shop in either Seychelles or Thailand gaining the PADI divemaster qualification and
professional dive master experience. Additional courses run through the internships include
a short course on team leadership and/or biological survey techniques. Additional
assignments included written and formal presentations given to the group, along with
management of one day of surveying and one community event where the intern must plan
and run an effective schedule.
7.2 Community Development
7.2.1

Community Education Programmes

The GVI Seychelles community education program works in conjunction with the
International School of the Seychelles (ISS) and the Presidents Village Children's Home.
Lessons and activities are held on a weekly basis within one of the National Marine Parks on
Mah, either Port Launay or Baie Ternay. Activities include lessons on marine biology and
conservation along with snorkelling and swimming lessons. This aspect of the expedition is
key to the overall impact of our role within the Seychelles. It also increases the extent to
which volunteers are able to contribute on an individual level, to help raise vital awareness of
marine conservation issues related directly to the Seychelles.
7.2.2

GVI Charitable Trust

As part of the GVI Charitable Trust, GVI Seychelles has partnered with the Presidents
Village Childrens Home in Port Glaud. The Presidents Village is part of The Childrens
Home Foundation, which has several childrens homes in the Seychelles. The Presidents
Village provides a home for children who are either orphaned or do not have parents able to
take care of their needs and currently houses approximately 60 children from birth to 18
years old. GVI Seychelles currently is raising funds for the Presidents Village to develop a
renewable energy system by installing solar panels to reduce the overall utilities costs,
enabling them to allocate those funds to be spent on the children, and educate the children
on the benefits of renewable energy sources. GVI volunteers attend weekly snorkel trips to
63

Port Launay Marine Park for the children at Presidents Village. Some of the children are
confident swimmers so were shown some of the fish and corals by the volunteers which they
attempted to identify back on the beach. Other children are new swimmers and the
experience is an introduction to water safety and an appreciation of the marine environment.
These snorkelling trips provide an opportunity for the children to interact with other members
of their local community and spend some time away from the Childrens home in a
structured, educational and fun activity.
7.2.3

National Scholarship Programme

As part of GVIs local capacity program GVI runs a National Scholarship programme in each
country. The National Scholarship Programme is directly funded by GVI volunteer's
payments and aims to increase long-term capacity building within the country. National
recruits such as rangers, researchers and students are selected by the local partner
organisations and are brought into the programme as volunteers. In order for SNPA to
continue and build upon the research conducted by GVI, scholars are invited to join every
expedition. To date The NSP Programme has been used to train 12 national park rangers
from the SNPA in monitoring conducted by GVI. In the period between July 2013 to June
2014, four NSP's from the University of Seychelles Environmental Science undergraduate
course joined the expedition for a four week program as part of their work based experience.
The focus of their studies on the expedition was fish species identification and surveying.

64

8. References
Barbault TR (1992) Htrognit spatiale, variabilit, temporelleetpeuplements. In: Ecologie des peuplements: structure,
dynamiqueet volution. Masson, pp 141-163
Bell JD, Galzin R (1984) Influence of live coral cover on a coral reef fish communities. Mar EcolProgSer15 : 265-274
Birkeland C (1977) The importance of rates of biomass accumulation in early successional stages of benthic communities. Proc
3rd Int Coral Reef Symp 1:1521
Carpenter KE, Miclat RI, Albaladejo VD, Corpuz VT (1981) The influence of substrate structure on the local abundance and
diversity of Philippine reef shes. Proc 4th Int Coral Reef Symp2 : 497-502
Chabanet, P., Ralambondrainy, H., Amanieu, M., Faure, G. &Galzin, R. (1998) Relationships between coral reef substrata and
fish.Coral Reefs. 16. 93-102.
Coleman, N. (2000) Marine Life of the Maldives, Atoll Editions, Apollo Bay, Australia
Colvocoresses J., Acosta A., (2007), A large scale field comparison of strip transect and stationary point count methods for
conducting length-based underwater visual surveys of reef fish populations. Fisheries Research85, 130-141
Ciccione, S., Jean, C., Ballorain, K. &Bourjea, J. (n.d.), Photo-identification of marine turtles: an alternative method to markrecapture studies, KelonialObservatoire des Tortues Marines, Region Reunion.
CRC Reef, (2001), Crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef: Current state of knowledge: April 2001. Coral Reef
Research Centre James Cook University, Townsville
Ellis, D. M. & Balazs, G. H. (1998) Use of a generic mapping tools program to plot Argos tracking data for sea turtles, in S. P.
Epperly and J. Braun (comp.) Proceedings of the 17th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, NOAA
Tech. Memo, NMFS-SEFSC-415, pp. 166168
Engelhardt U.,( 2001), Interim Report No. 1 (December 2001): Report on scientific field studies and training activities conducted
in June / July 2001. Seychelles Marine Ecosystem Management Project.Reefcare International Pty Ltd, Townsville
Engelhardt U.M., Russell & WendlingB. (2003), Coral Communities around the Seychelles Islands 19982002, p.212 p.231
Engelhardt U. (2004)The status of scleractinian coral and reef-associated fish communities 6 years after the 1998 mass coral
bleaching event. Seychelles Marine Ecosystem Management Project.Global Environment Facility/Government of
Seychelles/World Wildlife Fund, Victoria.
Ferrier-Page`s, C., Gattuso,J.P., Dallot, S. &Jaubert, J. (2000) Effect of nutrient enrichment on growth and photosynthesis of
the zooxanthellate coral Stylophorapistillata. Coral Reefs 19 :pp.103 113
Garpe, K.C., Yahya, S.A.S., Lindahl, U. &Ohman M.C. (2006) Longterm effects of the 1998 coral bleaching event on reef fish
assemblages. Marine Ecology Progress Series 315:237247.
Gell, F. R., and C. M. Roberts.(2003). Benefits beyond boundaries: the fishery effects of marine reserves. Trends in Ecology
and Evolution 18:448455.
Glynn, P.W. (2006) Fish utilization of simulated coral reef frameworks versus eroded rubble substrates off Panama, eastern
Pacific. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium 1:250256.
Graham, N.A.J., Wilson, S.K., Jennings, S., Polunin, N.V.C., Bijoux, J.P., & Robinson, J. (2006) Dynamic fragility of oceanic
coral reef ecosystems, PNAS, 103, no. 22
Graham N. A. J., Wilson S. K., Jennings S., Polunin N. V. C., Robinson J., Bijoux J. P., Daw T. M., (2007), Lag Effects in the
Impacts of Mass Coral Bleaching on Coral Reef Fish, Fisheries, and Ecosystems. Conservation Biology 21(Issue 5), 1291-1300
Grimsditch, G.D. &Salm, R.V. (2006).Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching.IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 52pp.
Halpern, B. S. (2003). The impact of marine reserves: Do reserves work and does size matter? Ecological Applications
13:S117S137.
Hill J., Wilkinson C., (2004), Methods for Ecological Monitoring of Coral Reefs: Version 1. A Resource for Managers.Australian
Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.
Houghton, J.D.R., Callow, M.J. & Hays, G.C. (2003) Habitat utilization by juvenile hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata,
Linnaeus, 1766) around a shallow water coral reef, Journal of Natural History, 37, pp. 12691280
Hughes, T.P., (1994), Catastrophes, phase shifts and large scale degradation of a coral reef, Science 256, pp. 1547-1551

65

IUCN (1996), A Marine Turtle Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for the Western Indian Ocean. International Union for
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Jennings S., Boulle D. P., Polunin N. V. C., (1995), Habitat correlates of the distribution and biomass of Seychelles reef fishes.
Environmental Biology of Fishes 46, 15-25
Jompa J, McCook (2002a) Effects of competition and herbivory on interactions between a hard coral and a brown alga. J Exp
Mar BiolEcol 271:2539

Jompa J, McCook (2002b) The effects of nutrients and herbivory on competition between a hard coral (Poritescylindrica) and a
brown alga (Lobophora variegata). Limnol Oceanogr 47:527538

Klumpp DW, McKinnon AD (1989) Temporal and spatial patterns in the primary production of a coral reef epilithic algal
community. J Exp Mar BiolEcol 131:122
Kulbicki M., (1998), How the acquired behavior of commercial reef fishes may influence the results obtained from visual
censuses. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 222, 11-30
Leujak W., Ormond R.F.G.,(2007), Comparative accuracy and efficiency of six coral community survey methods. Journal of
Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology351, 168-187.
Lindn, O., Souter, D., Wilhelmsson, D. &Obura, D. (2002), Coral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean, CORDIO, Kalmar,
Makowski, C., Seminoff, J.A. & Salmon, M. (2006). Home range and habitat use of juvenile Atlantic green turtles
(Cheloniamydas L.) on shallow reef habitats in Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Marine Biology. 128. 1167-1179.
McClanahan, T.R., Baird, A.H., Marshall &Toscano, M.A. (2004) Comparing bleaching and mortality responses of hard corals
between southern Kenya and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 48: 327 335.
Micheli, F. & Halpern, S. (2005) Low functional redundancy in coastal marine assemblages.Ecology Letters. 8. 391-400.
Mrosovsky, N., (1983). Conserving Sea Turtles. The British Herpetological Society, London, p. 4
Nugues, M. & Roberts, C. (2003) Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs,
Marine Pollution Bulletin,46, 314 323
Pratchett M.S., (2007), Feeding preferences of Acanthasterplanci (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) under controlled conditions of
food availability.Pacific Science 61 (Issue 1), 113-120
Samoilys M., Gribble N., (1997), Manual for Assessing Fish Stocks on Pacific Coral Reefs.Queensland Training
Series.Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
Sano M, Shimizu M, Nose Y (1984) Changes in structure of coral reef fish communities by destruction of hermatypic corals:
observational and experimental views. Pac Sci 38 (1) : 51-79
Sluka, R. D. & Miller, M. W. (2001) Herbivorous Fish Assemblages and Herbivory Pressure on Laamu Atoll, Republic of
Maldives. Coral Reefs, 20. Pp. 255-262
Sobel, J. A., and C. P. Dahlgren. (2004). Marine reserves. A guide to science, design and use. Island Press, Washington D.C.,
USA.
Spalding M. D., Jarvis G. E., (2002), The impact of the 1998 coral mortality on reef fish communities in the Seychelles. Marine
Pollution Bulletin 44, 309-321
Steneck RS (1988) Herbivory on coral reefs: a synthesis. Proc 6th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:3749
Turner, J., Klaus, R. &Engelhardt, U. (2002)The reefs of the granitic islands of the Seychelles, CORDIO
Veron, J.E.N., (2000) Corals of the World, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia, Vol13
Ward, S. & Harrison, P. (2000) Changes in gametogenesis and fecundity of acroporid corals that were exposed to elevated
nitrogen and phosphorus during the ENCORE experiment. J Exp Mar BiolEcol246 : 179 221
Witzell, W. (1983) Synopsis of biological data on the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelysimbricata (Linnaeus, 1766), FAO Fish,
Synop., pp. 137

66

9. Appendices
Appendix A.Details of sites surveyed by GVI Seychelles Mah, year round. Sites in
bold-type text are located within Marine Protected Areas.

Site

Survey

Site Name

GPS

Conception North Point

S 0439.583, E 05521.654

Core

Granitic

Conception Central East Face

S 0439.891, E 055 22.258

Core

Carbonate

Port Launay West Rocks

S 0439.416, E 05523.382

Core

Granitic

Port Launay South Reef

S 0439.158, E 05523.695

Core

Carbonate

BaieTernay Lighthouse

S 0438.373, E 05521.993

Core

Granitic

BaieTernay Reef North East

S 0438.013, E 05522.405

Core

Granitic

BaieTernay Reef Centre

S 0438.321, E 05522.504

Core

Carbonate

10

BaieTernay Reef North West

S 0438.382, E 05522.133

Core

Carbonate

11

Rays Point

S 0437.347, E 05523.145

Core

Granitic

12 A

Willies Bay Reef

S 0437.650, E 05522.889

Core

Carbonate

12 B

Willies Bay Point

S 0437.589, E 05522.776

Core

Granitic

13 A

Anse Major Reef

S 0437.546, E 05523.121

Core

Carbonate

13 B

Anse Major Point

S 0437.509, E 05523.010

Core

Granitic

14

Whale Rock

S 0437.184, E 05523.424

Core

Granitic

15

Auberge Reef

S 0437.024, E 05524.243

Core

Carbonate

16

Corsaire Reef

S 0437.016, E 05524.447

Core

Carbonate

17

White Villa Reef

S 0436.935, E 05524.749

Core

Carbonate

18

Lilot North Face

S 0438.652, E 05525.932

Core

Granitic

19

Site Y

S 0437.771, E 05522.660

Core

Granitic

21

Therese North End

S 0440.101, E 05523.737

Core

Granitic

22

Therese North East

S 0440.099, E 05523.891

Core

Carbonate

23

Therese South

S 0440.764, E 05524.310

Core

Granitic

24

Site X

S 0437.059, E 05523.783

Core

Granitic

N/A

Secret Beach Reef

N/A

Core

Carbonate

No

Status

Granitic/Carbonate

67

Appendix B.Scleractinian coral genera surveyed by GVI Seychelles - Mah.

Acroporidae

Acropora

Fungia

Astreopora

Herpolitha

Montipora

Diaseris

Pocillopora
Pocilloporidae

Poritidae
Dendrophylliidae

Siderastreidae

Fungiidae

Cycloseris

Stylophora

Podabacia

Seriatopora

Halomitra

Porites

Polyphyllia

Goniopora

Favia

Alveopora

Favites

Turbinaria

Montastrea

Siderastrea

Plesiastrea

Pseudosiderastrea

Goniastrea

Coscinaraea
Psammocora

Faviidae

Echinopora
Diploastrea

Lobophyllia

Leptasrea

Symphyllia

Cyphastrea

Acanthastrea

Platygyra

Blastomussa

Leptoria

Oculinidae

Galaxea

Oulophyllia

Euphyllidae

Physogyra

Mussidae

Pectinidae

Stylocoeniella

Pectinia

Pavona

Mycedium

Leptoseris

Echinophyllia
Merulinidae

Astrocoeniidae

Agaricidae

Gardineroseris

Merulina

Coeloseris

Hydnophora

Pachyseris

68

Appendix C.Fish families, genera and species surveyed by GVI Seychelles - Mah.

Relevance
Family

Scientific name

Common name

Feeding guild

(Engelhardt
2004)

Butterflyfish
(Chaetodontidae)

Chaetodonvagabundus

Vagabond

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonauriga

Threadfin

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodontrifascialis

Chevroned

Coral recovery

Chaetodonmelannotus

Black-backed

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonmertensii

Merten's

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodontriangulum

Triangular

Coral recovery

Chaetodontrifasciatus

Indian Redfin

Coral recovery

Chaetodoninterruptus

Indian Ocean Teardrop

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonbennetti

Bennett's

Coral recovery

Chaetodonlunula

Raccoon

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonkleinii

Klein's

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodoncitrinellus

Speckled

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonguttatisimus

Spotted

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonlineolatus

Lined

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonfalcula

Saddleback

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonmeyersi

Meyer's

Coral recovery

Yellow-headed

C/I

Coral recovery

Chaetodonzanzibariensis

Zanzibar

Coral recovery

Forcipiger sp.

Longnose sp.

C/I

Coral recovery

Three-spot

Visual appeal

Emperor

Visual appeal

Semicircle

Visual appeal

Pygoplitesdiacanthus

Regal

Visual appeal

Acanthurus sp.

Surgeonfish

Algae vs. coral

Ctenochaetus sp.

Bristletooths

Algae vs. coral

Naso sp.

Unicornfish

Pl

Algae vs. coral

Zancluscornutus

Moorish idol

Visual appeal

Siganuspuelloides

Blackeye

Algae vs. coral

Siganuscorallinus

Coral

Algae vs. coral

Siganusstellatus

Honeycomb

Algae vs. coral

Siganusargenteus

Forktail

Algae vs. coral

Chaetodonxanthocephal
us

Apolemichthystrimaculat
us
Angelfish

Pomacanthus imperator

(Pomacanthidae)

Pomacanthussemicircula
tus

Surgeonfish
(Acanthuridae)

Rabbitfish (Siganidae)

69

Snappers (Lutjanidae)

Siganussutor

African Whitespotted

Algae vs. coral

Lutjanusgibbus

Paddletail

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanussebae

Red emperor

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusfulviflamma

Longspot

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanuskasmira

Blue-lined

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusbengalensis

Bengal

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusmonostigma

Onespot

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusvitta

Brownstripe

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusfulvus

Flametail

Pi

Fishing pressure

Mangrove jack

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusbohar

Red

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusrusselli

Russell's

Pi

Fishing pressure

Macolorniger

Black

Pi

Fishing pressure

Aprionvirescens

Green jobfish

Pi

Fishing pressure

Balistoidesviridescens

Titan

Sea urchins & COTs

Sufflamenchrysopterus

Flagtail

Sea urchins & COTs

Balistidae

Other triggerfish

Sea urchins & COTs

Monotaxis sp.

Redfin/Bigeye bream

Sea urchins & COTs

Gymnocraniusgrandoculi

Blue-lined

bream

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusolivaceous

Longnosed

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusnebulosus

Blue-scaled

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusrubrioperculatus

Redear

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusxanthochilus

Yellowlip

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusharak

Thumbprint

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinuslentjan

Pinkear

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusobsoletus

Orange-striped

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinuserythracanthus

Yellowfin

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusmahsena

Mahsena

Sea urchins & COTs

Lethrinusvariegatus

Variegated

Sea urchins & COTs

Slender

Pi

Fishing pressure

Cephalopholisargus

Peacock

Pi

Fishing pressure

Cephalopholisurodeta

Flagtail

Pi

Fishing pressure

Cephalopholisminiata

Coral Hind

Pi

Fishing pressure

Cephalopholissonnerati

Tomato

Pi

Fishing pressure

Epinephelusmerra

Honeycomb

Pi

Fishing pressure

Lutjanusargentimaculatu
s

Triggerfish
(Balistidae)

Emperors
(Lethrinidae)

Anyperodonleucogrammi
cus

Groupers
(Serranidae)

large-eye

70

Epinephelusspilotoceps

Foursaddle

Pi

Fishing pressure

Camouflage

Pi

Fishing pressure

Whitespotted

Pi

Fishing pressure

Brown-marbled

Pi

Fishing pressure

Epinephelustukula

Potato

Pi

Fishing pressure

Epinephelusfasciatus

Blacktip

Pi

Fishing pressure

Aethalopercarogaa

Redmouth

Pi

Fishing pressure

Variolalouti

Yellow-edged Lyretail

Pi

Fishing pressure

Plectropomuslaevis

Saddleback

Pi

Fishing pressure

Plectropomuspunctatus

African Coral Cod

Pi

Fishing pressure

Plectorhinchusorientalis

Oriental

Sea urchins & COTs

Plectorhinchuspicus

Spotted

Sea urchins & COTs

Plectorhinchusgibbosus

Gibbus

Sea urchins & COTs

Parrotfish

Bolbometoponmuricatum

Bumphead parrotfish

C/H

Coral damage

(Scaridae)

Scaridae

Other parrotfish

Algae vs. coral

Cheilinustrilobatus

Tripletail

Sea urchins & COTs

Cheilinusfasciatus

Redbreasted

Sea urchins & COTs

Oxycheilinusdigrammus

Cheeklinedsplendour

Sea urchins & COTs

Cheilinusundulatus

Humphead

Sea urchins & COTs

Tetraodontidae

Puffers

Sea urchins & COTs

Diodontidae

Porcupinefish

Sea urchins & COTs

Soldierfish

Pl

Upwelling areas

Squirrelfish

Pl

Upwelling areas

Epinepheluspolyphekadi
on
Epinepheluscaeruleopun
ctatus
Epinephelusfuscoguttatu
s

Sweetlips
(Haemulidae)

Wrasse (Labridae)

Holocentridae

71

Appendix D. Fish feeding guilds analysed by GVI Seychelles Mah.

Code

Feeding guild

Description (adapted from Obura and Grimsditch, 2009)

Key species

Pl

Planktivores

Resident on reef surfaces, but feed in the water column.


Their abundance is related to quality of reef habitat for
refuge, and water column conditions.

Soldierfish,
Squirrelfish,
Unicornfish

Piscivores

High level predators. Exert top-down control on lower


trophic levels. Important fisheries species but very
vulnerable to overfishing thus good indicators of the fishing
pressure on a reef.

Groupers, Snappers

Pi

Corallivores

Relative abundance is an indicator of coral community


health

Butterflyfish
(Chevroned,
Triangular, Bennetts,
Indian Redfin,
Meyers, Longnose
sp.)

Varied diet

Feed on coral competitors such as soft corals and


sponges. Relative abundances may be an indicator of
abundance of these prey items and of a phase shift.

Angelfish, Moorish
Idol

Second-level predators with highly mixed diets including


small fish, invertebrates and dead animals. Important
fisheries species thus abundances are a good indicator of
fishing pressure.

Sweetlips,
Emperors,
Pufferfish,
Porcupinefish,
Wrasse (Tripletail,
Redbreasted,
CheeklinedSplendor,
Humphead),
Triggerfish (Titan,
Flagtail, Other)

Invertivores*

Exert the primary control on coral-algal dynamics.


H

Herbivores

C/H

Corallivore/Herbivore

C/I

Corallivore/Invertivore

May indicate phase shift from coral to algal dominance in


response to mass coral mortality or pressures such as
eutrophication.

Parrotfish,
Surgeonfish,
Bristletooth,
Rabbitfish

Relative abundance is a secondary indicator of coral


community health

Bumphead parrotfish

Relative abundance can be a secondary indicator of coral


community health

Butterflyfish
(Vagabond,
Threadfin,
Blackbacked,
Mertens, Indian
Ocean Teardrop,
Racoon, Kleins,
Speckled, Spotted,
Lined, Saddleback,
Yellow headed,
Zanzibar)

72

Appendix E.Fish species lists divided into commercial and reef species analysed by GVI
Seychelles Mah.

Commercial Fish Species

Reef Fish Species

Siganidae (Rabbitfish)

Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfish)

Lutjanidae (Snappers)

Pomacanthidae (Angelfish)

Lethrinidae (Emperors)

Acanthuridae (Surgeonfish)

Serranidae (Groupers)

Balistidae (Triggerfish)

Haemulidae (Sweetlips)

Labridae (Wrasse)

Scaridae (Parrotfish)

Tetradontidae (Pufferfish)
Diodontidae (Porcupinefish)
Holocentridae (Soldierfish& Squirrelfish)
Zancluscornutus (Moorish Idol)
Bolbometoponmuricatum(Bumphead Parrotfish)

73

Appendix F.List of invertebratespecies surveyed on 50m belt transects by GVI Seychelles


Mah.

Mollusca (Gastropoda)

Drupella spp.

Drupella

Mollusca (Bivalvia)

Tridacnidae

Giant Clam

Culcita spp.

Cushion Sea Star

Acanthasterplanci

Crown of Thorns Sea Star

Sea Stars (Asteroidea)

Other Sea Stars

Sea Urchins (Echinoidea)

Diadema spp.

Long Spine Urchin

Echinometra spp.

Mathaes Urchin

Echinothrix spp.

Short Spine Urchin


Pencil Urchin

Toxopneustespileolus

Flower Urchin
Cake Urchin

Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea)

(Cephalopoda)
Lobsters (Palinura)

Holothuriaartra

Lollyfish

Holothuriafuscopunctata

Elephant Trunk

Holothuriafuscogilva

White teatfish

Holothurianobilis

Black teatfish

Holothuria sp.(undescribed)

Pentard

Bohadschia spp.

Bohadschia

Actinopyga spp.

Actinopyga

Actinopygamauritiana

Yellow Surfish

Stichopus spp.

Stichopus

Thelenotaananas

Prickly Redfish

Pearsonothuriangraeffei

Flowerfish

Thelenotaanax

Royal

Holothuriaedulis

Edible Sea Cucumber

Octopus spp.

Common Reef Octopus

Panulirus spp.

Spiny Lobster

Parribacus spp./Scyllarides spp.

Slipper Lobster

74

Appendix G.Invertebrates surveyed on 10m LIT transects by GVI Seychelles Mah.

Annelida (Polychaeta)

(Platyhelminthes)

Arthropoda (Crustacea)

Mollusca (Gastropoda)

Mollusca (Bivalvia)

Mollusca (Cephalopoda)

Sea Stars (Asteroidea)

Sabellidae

Feather Duster worms

Serpulidae

Christmas Tree worms

Terebellidae

Spaghetti worms

Polycladida

Flatworms

Caridea

Shrimps

Stomatopoda

Mantis shrimps

Crabs

Muricidae

Murex

Drupella sp.

Drupella

Strombidae

Conch

Cypraeidae

Cowrie

Ranellidae

Triton

Conidae

Cone

Trochidae

Top

Cassidae

Helmet

Other shells

Nudibranchia

Nudibranchs

Ostreidae

Oysters

Tridacnidae

Giant Clam

Sepoidea

Cuttlefish

Teuthoidea

Squid

Culcita sp.

Cushion Sea Star

Acanthasterplanci

Crown of Thorns Sea Star


Other Sea Stars

Ophiuroidea

Brittle Stars

Crinoidea

Feather Stars

Diadema sp.

Long Spine Urchin

Echinometra sp.

Mathaes Urchin

Echinothrix sp.

Short Spine Urchin

Sea Urchins (Echinoidea)

Pencil Urchin
Toxopneustes sp.

Flower Urchin
Cake Urchin
Other Urchins

75