Review of Coral Life History and Instrumental Methods for Trace Metal Analysis in Coral

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Richard E. Dodge


Scleractinian coral can be a useful recorder of chemical changes in its environment. As the coral grows, it incorporates certain elements from the seawater into its calcium carbonate skeleton (Shen, 1986). Since scleractinian coral exhibit annual growth bands (Dodge and Vaisnys, 1975), the chemical changes that occur in its environment can be charted from one year to the next .

There have been several workers who have studied trace levels of metals in coral skeletons (Livingston and Thompson, 1971; Swart and Hubbard, 1982; Cross and Cross, 1983; Dodge and Gilbert, 1984). They have used a variety of techniques and instrumentation.

This paper will examine the life history of the hermatypic corals, review some of the instrumentation used to study trace metals i n corals, and look at some new techniques which may be applied to coral analysis in the future.

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