The Effect of Sedimentation Levels on Tarebia granifera in Freshwater Lagoons in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Harfouche, Caroline Damienne; Jung, Diane

Punta Cana, one of the largest tourist destinations in the Caribbean, is located in the western part of the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. Increased human activity has had a negative impact on the aquatic ecosystems, significantly decreasing the number of coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses. The decline is not only occurring in the Caribbean, but also worldwide and is attributed to human and natural causes. It is believed that the degradation of aquatic ecosystems is partially driven by increased sedimentation. Sedimentation levels directly impact the wellbeing of aquatic ecosystems. Suspended particles reduce the amount of light that penetrates the water, which reduces photosynthesis and the production of dissolved oxygen. The suspended material can clog fish gills reducing their resistance to disease, lowering growth rates and affecting egg and larval production. Increased sedimentation means a thicker layer of particles accumulates on the floor of the aquatic biome and smothers eggs and benthic macroinvertebrates. The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve, situated on 1500 acres of protected land on the resort, has twelve freshwater lagoons. Since only three of them are open to swimming, it was an ideal natural setting to conduct an experiment to compare the effect of human activity on the levels of sedimentation in two lagoons – one open and one closed to swimming. We also measured the effect of sedimentation levels on the size of the Tarebia granifera in each of the lagoons. The data was analyzed using One-Way ANOVA.

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Also Published In

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

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Earth Institute
Published Here
December 8, 2015