The Use of Forest Restoration Techniques in the Restoration of Coral Reefs

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Joshua Feingold

Second Advisor

Michael Andreu


Human-induced (anthropogenic) impacts to coral reefs include dredging, fishing, chemical pollution, oil spills, ship groundings, tourist damage, and run-off of sediment, fertilizer, and pesticides. Wider scale impacts, such as global climate change, have triggered mass coral bleaching events and subsequent mortality, and ocean acidification has led to decreases in the structural integrity of reefs. As human populations continue to increase in coastal areas, the demand for reef-associated resources (reef fish, mollusks, algae and crustaceans) will rise. Because coral reefs are experiencing dramatic loss of coral cover and associated species, there is a critical need for restoration strategies to be applied to coral reef ecosystems. Through the analysis of forest and coral reef literature, connections between forest and coral reef ecosystems and their restoration efforts will be reviewed and compared. Since trees and corals share biological, structural and functional similarities, successful forest restoration techniques are applicable to coral reef restoration. This capstone paper will summarize these similarities and justify the use of forest restoration techniques on coral reefs.

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