Event Name/Location

33rd Scientific Meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 4-8, 2007

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

6-2007

Keywords

Coral, Restoration, Recruitment, Transplantation

Abstract

The coral reefs of southeast Florida are offshore a highly urbanized area with a population exceeding 5 million people and three major shipping ports with over 6000 ships calling on an annual basis. Reef injury events are common and have been caused by ship groundings and marine construction activities such as channel dredging and cable placement. Restoration activities generally only include the reattachment of dislodged stony corals, removal of rubble, and boulder stabilization. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has recognized these limited activities and is collaborating with Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center to study ways to accelerate coral reef succession in damaged reef areas. The goal of this study is two-fold: 1) to examine the potential for natural recovery by examining coral recruitment to both damaged and control sites, and 2) to test several reef restoration enhancement methods. Baseline surveys indicate that juvenile coral density is higher at damaged reef sites than control sites, but rates of coral recruitment, growth, and mortality are being monitored. Comparison of materials commonly used in reef restoration indicates that concrete and limestone initially attract more coral recruits than other materials tested. Finally, the efficacy of transplanting gorgonians and sponges through fragmentation and of corals through relocation of juveniles are being assessed. Information gained from these studies will provide resource agencies with improved methods to promote reef restoration.

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