A Diver Operated Protocol for Mapping the Distribution of the Scleractinian Coral, A. cervicornis Off Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

James Thomas

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney


The purpose of this research is to determine the location and distribution of the hermatypic scleractinian coral A. cervicornis in the area located between Hillsborough Inlet and Port Everglades, Florida by using the manta tow technique. The relevance of this study is based on the perceived scarcity and lack of documentation of A. cervicornis colonies and reefs in Broward County. The finding of significantly healthy beds and accumulations of A. cervicornis at more northern latitudes is of interest from a scientific standpoint. Heavily impacted by human activities, the hard bottom communities of these relict reef tracts require accurate and cost·efficient surveying techniques to establish even a modest baseline of information on their location and spatial coral coverage. The deficiencies in our understanding limit our ability to interpret the long· term significance of reef degradation, and therefore to develop scientifically based conservation and management plans.

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