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Thesis - NSU Access Only
M.S. Marine Biology
David S. Gilliam
Richard E. Dodge
Vladimir N. Kosmynin
The purpose of this study was to collect baseline data of juvenile scleractinian coral density, spatial variability, size variability, and species composition across the linear shore parallel hard bottom coral communities offshore Broward County, Florida. Adult coral population data was also collected and compared with that of the juvenile coral population to better understand the local coral demographics and potential factors that influence the population structure. The juvenile and adult coral data from the Broward County coral communities was then compared to a second study region 50 kilometers south to identify latitudinal changes in the coral population structure.
The results of this study found that the densities and the list of coral species observed within the Broward County study region did fall within the range of densities found in other studies completed along the southern portion of the Florida Reef Tract and the Caribbean. Despite having similar species richness to other Caribbean studies, there was an overwhelming dominance of only a few species. This was also found in the adult coral population in the Broward study region.
The densities of both the juvenile and adult coral populations were significantly positively correlated as well as their number of species observed across the sites in the Broward County study region. Additionally, the highly dominant species found in the juvenile population were in the adult population.
Despite increasing coral density and diversity with decreasing latitude found in other studies conducted along the Florida Reef Tract, the results from this study were not as clear. Density of corals and the number of coral species did increase from north to south on the Outer reef however there was a significant decrease in the depth of the sample sites. On the Pavement habitat the density of juvenile corals increased from north to south however the number of coral species did not increase. The density and number of species of adult corals did not increase on the Pavement habitat with decreasing latitude as well making the results unclear.
Jennifer Stein. 2012. Juvenile Scleractinian Coral Density, Composition, and Influence on the Adult Coral Population in Southeast Florida.. Master's thesis. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, Oceanographic Center. (173)