Virgin Islands National Park contains examples of most western tropical Atlantic terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. These include various types of subtropical dry to moist forest, salt ponds, beaches, mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reefs and algal plains. Terrestrial topography is quite dramatic with average slopes being 30 percent. The highest mountain peak plunges sharply to the sea over a distance of three quarters of a mile.
There are now seven species of corals, found in the Caribbean, listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened.
NOAA listed 20 new corals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, in August 2014 bringing the total of listed corals to 22.
Corals are critical to the health of the marine ecosystems, provide protection for coastal communities, and habitats for a multitude of other species.
Acropora palmata - Elkhorn coral
Threats to corals include: ocean warming, ocean acidification, dredging, coastal development, pollution, disease, reef fishing, damage from boats and anchors, marine debris and aquatic invasive species.
For more information visit the NOAA Fisheries page.
Photo © Dr. Caroline Rogers, all rights reserved