Capstone Title

The Effect of Demersal Reef Fishes on Gorgonian Coral Growth: Trophic Interactions in Coral Reefs

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor



A proposal is made to investigate the interactions between demersal reef fishes and gorgonian corals. A mutualistic trophic link is proposed between diurnally resting schools of reef fishes and the gorgonians with which they associate. To control for the presence of fishes, benthic artificial reefs will be used as fish aggregating devices. New methods for the determination of gorgonian growth will be developed; and quantitative studies of the growth of control and experimental gorgonians will compare the amount of skeletal growth (linear extension and spicule density) as well as the density of the tissues and zooxanthellae.

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