HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Richard E. Dodge

Second Advisor

Charles G. Messing

Third Advisor

Peter K. Swart


Cyclic variations in skeletal structure of long-lived reef corals produce annual density bands evident by X-radiography and X-ray computed tomography. The chemical composition of the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) skeleton and the chronological reliability of these high-density (HD) and low-density (LD) bands can provide accurate records for reconstruction of long-term climatic and ecological conditions. Due to variability across coral taxa, the architectural variations responsible for density banding are not completely understood. The western Atlantic/Caribbean reef coral, Diploria strigosa, is the first meandroid (brain) coral analyzed for skeletal variations relative to density band formation. Skeletal architecture analyses consisted of X-radiography, densitometry, X-ray computed tomography, and computer image analysis techniques. High-density bands correlated with thickened septa and tightly organized and thickened columella. Dissepiment spacing and colline thickness remained relatively constant between high and low-density bands. Results suggest that relationships between skeletal architecture and density banding for D. strigosa differ slightly from previously reported results for Montastraea and Porites. Skeletal structural analyses provide insights relative to density band formation and suggest D. strigosa is a good candidate for isotopic/trace element analyses and a recorder of long-term growth histories.


0000-0002-9906-5845, B-5241-2011

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