HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Charles G. Messing

Second Advisor

Joshua S. Feingold

Third Advisor

Sandra D. Brooke


Eleven deep-sea coral sites off the eastern Florida coast were surveyed using the Johnson Sea Link I submersible from 8-18 November 2005. Seven of 14 dives contained usable transect data that were used to characterize benthic habitats and associated faunal assemblages. Forty-two taxa at various taxonomic levels were identified and their relative abundances and densities calculated. Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe) software was used to determine percent cover of substrate types. PRIMER-E was used to compare distributions of percent cover, and relative abundances and densities of organisms within and among sites. Distributions of some taxa were depth-related, while multiple factors appeared to be responsible for the distributions of others. Sites with relatively few dead standing coral colonies and high percentages of coral rubble, sediment and rocky substrates appeared to harbor similar assemblages. Overall organism densities correlated significantly with availability of hard substrates. Dead standing coral colonies did not affect organism density, but had a significant effect on assemblage composition at different sites.


Funding provided by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration for the grant (NA05OAR4601063) awarded to Dr. Brooke et al.

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