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. Coastal Zone Management


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Richard E. Spieler

Second Advisor

Robin L. Sherman

Third Advisor

Kenneth Banks


In 1967, Broward County, Florida resource managers initiated a project to construct an artificial reef to enhance recreational fishing using waste vehicle tires. An estimated two million unballasted tires were bundles and deployed in bundles approximately 1.8km offshore in 21m of water on sandy substrate separating the middle and outer reef tracts, running parallel to the coast. Over time, bindings on the tire bundles failed and the tires became mobile with normal currents and high energy storms. The tires have apparently moved extensively, travelling kilometers from their original location to beaches and deeper waters offshore. It has also been reported that loose tires have physically damaged benthic reef fauna on the natural reef. Due to this damage, a large-scale removal plan of the tires has been initiated. To assess damage and evaluate effectiveness of tire removal, an examination of existing biota was accomplished. Live corals were absent on the middle reef edge, buried by tires but were present on the tires themselves. When compared to the impacted middle reef edge (tires present), adjacent natural reef control sites (tires absent) exhibited significantly lower fish abundance and species richness. Removal of the tires will directly reduce the abundance of fishes and affect the corals in the area. Future studies will evaluate the loss of these resources relative to the gain in reduced impact to the natural reef.

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