HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

David S. Gilliam

Second Advisor

Richard E. Dodge

Third Advisor

Lou Fisher


Coral reefs in Broward County are increasingly threatened by coastal and marine construction activities. Infrastructure installation (cables, pipelines, and sewer outfalls), beach renourishment, and dredge and fill operations have both anticipated and inadvertent impacts which may result in reef damage. Mitigation practices consisting of impact avoidance and minimization are necessary to prevent and offset reef damage. Coral transplantation is a commonly utilized impact minimization tool which aims to protect corals threatened by impending construction projects. Coral colonies are removed from their natural habitats and relocated to analogous unthreatened sites prior to construction.

This study focuses on coral transplantation that occurred as impact minimization for two recently completed coastal and marine construction projects in Broward County. The first project involved relocation of colonies to natural reef away from potential damage by a natural gas pipeline geotechnical survey. The second project involved relocation of colonies to an artificial reef in relation to a beach renourishment project. Colonies from both projects were monitored and analyzed in regards to survival and growth to determine transplantation success.

A combined 1100 colonies were transplanted for these projects, with approximately 25% of these chosen for 18-24 months of monitoring. The projects had high attachment rates between 92-100% and survival rates between 87-99%. A majority of colonies exhibited positive growth at an average rate of 0.03%-0.04% of initial tissue area per day. There were no apparent detrimental effects of transplantation such as reduced initial growth rates, disease, bleaching, or increased partial mortality. These results indicate that coral transplantation was highly successful from a biological standpoint.

This study also demonstrates that coral transplantation is a valid and effective component of impact minimization whereby colonies that may otherwise be destroyed, can be successfully preserved. For this study, coral transplantation proved to be an economically worthwhile method of conserving an ecologically and economically valuable reef resource. However, coral transplantation is only one facet of impact minimization and mitigation. Ideally, future mitigation projects should also aim to reduce habitat loss and preserve biota in addition to stony corals.

To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid nova.edu OR mynsu.nova.edu email address and create an account for NSUWorks.

Free My Thesis

If you are the author of this work and would like to grant permission to make it openly accessible to all, please click the Free My Thesis button.

  Link to NovaCat