Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date

1-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

James Darwin Thomas

Second Advisor

Charles Messing

Third Advisor

Jose V. Lopez

Abstract

Recent observations have identified a new species of leucothoid amphipod, Leucothoe “sp. F,” associated with the sponge Cliona varians. This project examined the relationship between this amphipod and its sponge host at three sites in the Florida Keys with differing hydrodynamic regimes. Ninety-eight sponge samples with a total of 2,030 amphipods were collected between December 2011 and September 2012. Leucothoe “sp. F” is currently a common species in the Florida Keys strongly associated with C. varians; its distribution strongly coincides with open tidal currents from the Gulf of Mexico. Seasonality, depth, and tidal regimes not only influence population dynamics and sexual characteristics of Leucothoe “sp. F,” but also the abundance and volume of its host.

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