Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

4-2007

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Joshua S. Feingold

Second Advisor

Susan B. Colley

Third Advisor

Charles Messing

Fourth Advisor

Bernardo Vargas-Angel

Abstract

Reproductive characters of the elliptical star coral Dichocoenia stokesi (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) were investigated based in histological examination of tissues collected in southeastern Florida between September 1999 and September 2000. The study population was predominantly gonochoric with a small incidence of hermaphroditism. Dichocoenia stokesi exhibits intermediate egg size (312.2 ± 40.4μm; mean ± SD) compared with other scleractinian species, suggesting a moderately lecithotrophic larval stage. Although spawning was not directly observed in this study, two separate spawning events per year are inferred from histological slide analyses; the first in late August or early September, and the second in early October. Sea water temperature was significantly positively correlated with female gonadal development in D. stokesi, whereas insolation was significantly inversely correlated with gonadal development. A recent epizootic of White Plague Type II in south Florida appears to be skewing local D. stokesi populations toward smaller - and potentially less fecund - colony sizes, although colony size and fecundity were not correlated in this study. The mean fecundity of the study population is estimated as 1138.1 eggs cm-2 yr-1.

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