Capstone Title

The Distribution of Fungiid Corals in the Eastern Pacific

Defense Date

7-2008

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Joshua Feingold

Second Advisor

Bernhard Riegl

Abstract

The aim of this paper is a compilation of the literature concerning the distribution of the fungiid corals Diaseris distorta and Cycloseris curvata in the Eastern Pacific. The Eastern Pacific locations addressed in the paper are the Gulf of California, mainland Mexico, the Revillagigedos, Clipperton, Costa Rica, Cocos, Panama, coastal Columbia, Malpelo Island, mainland Ecuador, and the Galápagos Islands. The literature concerning fungiid corals in these locations is sparse, with the exception of the Galápagos, which is home to a large living population that has been studied for decades, and the Gulf of California, where both species have been found to associate with rhodolith beds. The lack of known information about D. distorta and C. curvata is not only limited to their distribution, but also extends to their reproductive and life patterns, both of which play a role in their distribution. Along with the reproductive patterns and free-living life stage, the other factors playing a role in the distribution include the oceanographic setting of the region, including large scale and local patterns. This includes, but is not limited to the region’s major current systems, upwelling, temperature anomaly events (ENSO), as well as the bottom topography. This capstone review will analyze these factors and conditions to gain a better understanding of the distributions of D. distorta and C. curvata with the Eastern Pacific.

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