Study Describes Social-Ecological System of La Parguera, Puerto Rico


La Parguera is a village (part of the town of Lajas) in southwestern Puerto Rico. For many years, tourism in the area focused on its “Phosphorescent Bay,” but recently the bay’s bioluminescence has all but disappeared. This article, posted by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, states that several institutions have come together to study how human impact and related factors have changed La Parguera’s delicate ecosystem.

A new study describes the social-ecological system of La Parguera, Puerto Rico, and identifies the different pressures that have changed this system over the last 40 years. According to the report, multiple pressures have changed this ecosystem, including: sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, elevated seawater temperatures, and overfishing. La Parguera is a small fishing village on the southwest coast of the island, best known for the night time bioluminescence of marine algae in its “Phosphorescent Bay.”

The new report contains maps representing the geographical distribution of habitats, human governance, and the human footprint of roads, settlements, and urban development. The assessment incorporates the views of various local stakeholder groups and provides an informational baseline and framework to restore the La Parguera ecosystem.

NCCOS, the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, the University of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and the Puerto Sea Grant Program contributed to this study.

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