EFFECTS OF HURRICANE JOAQUIN ON THE SEDIMENT, BIOTA, AND WATER CHEMISTRY OF INTERIOR PONDS OF SAN SALVADOR, BAHAMAS
In Oyster Pond, with several conduits to the ocean, abundances of macroalgae and invertebrates on red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) prop roots and pond outcroppings indicate that the dominant invertebrate species on prop roots is the black mangrove oyster (Isognonzen alatus), while previous studies report burnt mussels (Brachidontes exustus) as dominant. Dominant macroalgae on prop roots include Batophora oerstedii and Acetabularia crenulata and calyculus, while previous studies reported a greater variety of macroalgae more evenly distributed on prop roots. This study provides evidence that the red mangrove prop-root biota is recovering, and is currently less diverse and less abundant than pre-hurricane conditions. On pond outcroppings, many of the same invertebrate and oyster species cited in pre-hurricane studies were noted, but in different quantities. Macroalgae populations shifted after the hurricane due to the absence of previously observed red algae Dasya crovaniana, Polysiphonia subtilissima, and green algae Anadyomene stellata and Pedobesia lamourouxii.
Overall, this study documented thick shell-hash layers in most ponds, and a decrease in algal species richness in Oyster Pond, as well as an alteration of dominant mussel species as compared to pre-hurricane conditions.