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

James D. Thomas

Third Advisor

Kenneth Banks


The Strait of Florida is a crescent – shaped channel, 180 km long that separates Florida from the Bahama Platform and Cuba and connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Atlantic Ocean. The Strait was investigated by four major dredging and trawling efforts: the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer Blake in the 1870s; the U.S. Fish Commission Steamer Albatross in the 1880’s; the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s R/V Atlantis in 1938 and 1939, and the University of Miami’s R/V Gerda and Pillsbury from 1962 to 1971. This study uses multivariate statistics to analyze qualitative published and museum records of dredged and trawled material to determine patterns of benthic fish and invertebrate distributions in the Strait of Florida and to recognize possible assemblages and associations among these organisms. Distributional information was correlated with mean bottom hydrodynamic and physicochemical data (water velocity, salinity and temperature) and depth to develop hypotheses about environmental controls of distributional patterns. Results reveal definite zonation patterns among selected invertebrate species in the Strait of Florida.

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