A Review of Sedimentation and the Effect of Dredging on Scleractinian Corals

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Joshua Feingold

Second Advisor

Lou Fisher


Sedimentation, although a natural occurrence in marine habitats, has increased negative effects on corals when anthropogenic activities exacerbate its amount and frequency. With human populations near the coastline increasing exponentially, land and sea configurations are being altered to suit human lifestyles. These modifications can include construction of structures, marinas and seawalls on the coast, increased agricultural practices inland, and marine construction (e.g. dredging). Beach renourishment may cause severe damage to the fragile coral reef ecosystems during offshore extraction and onshore deposition of beach material. Inputs of sediment to the water column from these sources, and subsequent resuspension can damage corals that inhabit these near shore coastal areas. This review will summarize the sources and basic effects of sedimentation on coral and examine in greater detail how dredging affects corals in the South Florida area.

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