Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Marine Science

First Advisor

Brian Walker

Second Advisor

Steven Smith

Third Advisor

Kirk Kilfoyle

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Bauman


marine protected areas, biogeography, ecological impact, conservation, macroalgae removal and control


This study conducted a population assessment of parrotfish density, biomass, occurrence, and size class frequencies in south Florida utilizing a decade of previously collected National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) Reef Visual Census (RVC) fish count data from 2012-2022. Larger parrotfish have the ability to remove large amounts of macroalgae during feeding which may clear habitat for assisting with reef repair via benthic settlement of beneficial organisms such as coral and CCA. Therefore, the parrotfish population over 30 cm in total length were also examined separately. Results illustrated size classes heavily skewed towards smaller individuals with 46.76% parrotfish below 11 cm in total length and 82.68% under our 30 cm. The majority of parrotfishes in Florida are not of sufficient size to have the capacity to remove a large biomass of macroalgae from Florida’s coral reefs. Highest densities and biomass of larger individuals were observed in the Florida Keys and the lowest were located in the Coral ECA region. Densities and biomass in the Florida Keys were significantly lower in 2018, likely due to hurricane Irma, and have not recovered to previous levels since. Since parrotfish are short lived, several generations should have matured since 2018. The lack of post disturbance recovery may be due to the continually degraded nearshore and offshore habitats in Florida that juvenile and adult parrotfishes depend upon, limiting population recovery.