Are We Managing the Wrong Thing? Importance on Different Life-Stages in Reef Corals

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Bernhard Riegl

Second Advisor

Nicole Fogarty


Corals are important organisms to species the world over; however, they are showing declining population trends. Mitigation is necessary for such population dynamics so to preserve the species, as well as prohibit further impact to associated species. Although several mitigation programs have been put into affect by several entities, they seem to mainly target the sessile life phase of the coral organism. This study experiments with population dynamics using size-structured matrix population modeling, capable of manipulating aspects affecting also the planktonic life phase, such as water column contamination by vessel use, among others. This is a preliminary investigation of coral population dynamics using hypothetical perturbations to population dynamics of Caribbean species of differing sexual reproductive mode; spawning species, Orbicella annularis and brooding species Porites astreoides. The results and conclusions herein strictly aim to enhance scientific understanding of coral demography in a dynamic environment which faces increasing anthropogenic impact the world over.

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