HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Bernhard Riegl

Second Advisor

Jay Fleisher

Third Advisor

Andrew Rogerson


This study was survey of disease distribution and abundance relating to coral diseases present in Broward County. Data of the 1330 scleractinian coral individuals found, 88 showed signs of disease. 19 coral species, 3 diseases and bleaching were represented. Diseases affected 9 of the species. Bleaching was the most common disease noted in this survey, followed by dark spot, red band, and yellow band.

Disease distribution appears to be scattered on the reef system. No apparent patterns were found when grouped by reef or corridor locations. MDS cluster analysis revealed a clumping of disease, but this was not correlated with location. Sites with more disease susceptible species tended to be clumped together.

Species diversity may play a role in the amount of disease present. Lower species diversity may cause an area to me more susceptible to disease. The more species located within an area, the less affect a disease affecting a subset of species would have.


Partial funding from the Broward County Dept. of Planning and Environmental Protection.

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