Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

7-25-2008

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Joshua S. Feingold

Second Advisor

Richard E. Spieler

Third Advisor

David S. Gilliam

Abstract

The Dania Beach Erojacks Artificial Reef was deployed off the coast of Broward County, Florida on December 31, 1967 as a way to help combat beach erosion. Over the last forty years, the linear pile of concrete hexapods has become an important habitat, for scleractinian corals, octocorals, algae, crustaceans, mollusks, and fish. This study focuses on the density and size of the scleractinian corals found on this artificial reef and how it compares to that of the nearby natural reef. In addition, the impact of two hurricanes on the shallow portion of the artificial reef was documented. In the 2-year study, results indicate that there was higher coral cover on the natural reef (6.45%) compared to 4.27% cover on the artificial reef. Most of the colonies on the natural reef are larger than those found on the artificial reef; 65.6% vs. 29.7% were greater than 25cm2. When comparing colony numbers, there are more than three times as many on the artificial reef (3870) compared to the same area of natural reef (1133). This corresponds to colony densities of 5.0/m2 on the artificial reef, compared to 1.5/m2 on the natural reef. The passage of two hurricanes in close proximity to the artificial reef resulted in no decrease in the number and surface area of corals when pre- and post-hurricane values were compared. Surprisingly, there were significant increases in both coral abundance (GEE Analysis, p < 0.0001) and cover (GEE Analysis, p =0.0001), however these changes were attributed to improved proficiency of the researchers in finding corals rather than actual increases in these values.

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