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, Sedimentation, Community composition, Southeast Florida

Abstract

The southeast Florida reef system lies offshore a heavily populated and urbanized coast. These high latitude reefs are not only affected by their geography but also by anthropogenic factors that accompany an urban area such as dredging activities, ship groundings, waste water outfalls, runoff and beach erosion. Sedimentation has been shown to influence stony coral community composition including dominance, abundance, cover, diversity, and colony size. Using annual monitoring data collected since 2000, the southeastern Florida reef community is being analyzed to examine if and how sedimentation and other factors such as depth, distance from shore and distance from port channels might influence community composition. All data was collected by SCUBA divers conducting 30m2 belt transect surveys at 24 sites offshore Broward County (southeast), Florida within a depth range of 6 to 18 meters. Stony coral data included colony size, abundance, diversity, percent cover, and mortality. Sponge and octocoral density were collected to gather a more complete picture of community composition. Three sediment bottles at each annually monitored site were collected every 60 days. Weight and grain size of the contents were analyzed and used to determine sedimentation rates at each site. Additionally, the reefs off the southeast Florida coast can be categorized into unique habitat types. These habitat types are also being considered when studying reef community composition and its relationship to sedimentation and other factors.

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