Assessing bioerosion drivers in the Caribbean region.
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Bioerosion is a natural process that degrades carbonate structures of a coral reef. When erosion rates are exceeding calcium carbonate accretion it causes a net loss of the reef CaCO3 and 3D structure (i.e. habitat loss for reef-associated organism). Several studies have showed that bioerosion increases with enhanced nutrient loads; however the opposite has been demonstrated as well. Research on bioerosion mainly has been located on the Great Barrier Reef and other locations within the Pacific. The main focus of prior research lies on the effect of enhanced nutrient loads on bioerosion. This study however aims to asses other drivers of bierosion as well. The different drivers assed in this study will be: physical environment, landmass, population density, threat index, fish abundance and reef health. To increase the understanding of bioerosion processes and its effects on coral reefs, we herewith propose to investigate bioerosion within the entire Caribbean region by combining two different bio-erosion sampling techniques. Coral rubble will be collected at all locations to examine life macro bioeroders inside. Experimental blocks will be deployed to include bioersion by grazers and micro borers in the analyses. The main objective is to find the key drivers of bio-erosion in the Caribbean region.