Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Marine Science

First Advisor

Joana Figueiredo Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andrew Bauman Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dorothy Ellen Renegar Ph.D.


optimization, flow, light, coral recruits, growth


Coral reefs are vital ecosystems for the world’s oceans and humanity; however, they are threatened by climate change, disease, and local anthropogenic stressors, and need assistance to recover. Traditional reef restoration efforts (fragmentation and outplanting are helping but are limited in effectiveness by not increasing genetic diversity. Ex situ sexual propagation for corals provides new, genetically different coral recruits. However, this process is laborious, expensive and time consuming, especially at the scale required to effectively contribute to the widespread recovery. To lower costs, two key parameters that require optimization to hasten the growth of coral recruits are water flow and tank location. In this study, the combined effects of water flow 0.1 m.s-1 versus 0.4 m.s-1 and tank location (LEDs indoors versus Natural Sunlight outdoors) were tested to find the optimal regime to raise juveniles of the of the stony coral tissue loss disease sensitive coral species Montastraea cavernosa, Diploria labyrinthiformis and Colpophyllia natans. It was found that the lower water flow rate was more suitable for the coral recruits’ health, survival and growth compared to the higher water flow rate and that the location (indoor vs. outdoor) with natural or artificial light, did not significantly affect the growth and survival of the coral. These results suggest that growing corals indoors or outdoors leads to similar results, but that lower water flow rates may lower time and monetary costs of raising coral recruits until they reach the size suitable for outplanting on the reef.