HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Marine Environmental Sciences


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Charles G. Messing

Second Advisor

Richard E. Dodge

Third Advisor

Stephen M. Blair


In 1988, offshore dredging for a beach renourishment project in Miami-Dade County, Florida caused extensive damage to the second reef tract off of Sunny Isles Beach. In an effort to restore and mitigate for the damage to the reef, the Sunny Isles Reef Restoration Project (SIRR) began in August of 1991. Three different types of artificial reef modules—Dome modules (D), CSA2 Module Designs (M), and Reef Replacement modules (R)—were placed on the edge of second reef where the damaged occurred. The colonization development of the benthic assemblages on the modules was monitored for the initial four years following deployment by G.M. Selby and Associates. This study sought to examine the same modules previously studied in order to determine the changes in species diversity and density as well as the level of similarity among the different module types and between the modules and the surrounding natural reef. Over time the diversity and density of benthic organisms has increased on the modules. The similarity among the modules has increased as well since the original monitoring. All three modules types share some similarities with the surrounding reef with the D and R modules being the most similar. Determining whether the similarity between the benthos on the modules and natural reef has leveled off or if an increased level of similarity is still attainable requires future research and monitoring efforts.


Funding provided by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Marine Fisheries Management’s Artificial Reef Assistance Program and the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM).

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