HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Richard E. Dodge

Second Advisor

John C. Halas

Third Advisor

Curtis Burney


Stony corals of Pompano Ledge, First Reef, Broward County, Florida were sampled in situ using a new reef assessment method. The circular-radial method was used to assess the effectiveness of mooring buoys in reducing damage to reefs. Data will be part of a long-term monitoring study of·buoy impacts. The parameter of recent injury was used to provide preliminary information on buoy effectiveness.

Results were as follows: approximately 6% of the study area was covered by stony corals, with an average of 3 colonies per square meter. Diversity based on abundance (H'n) was 1 .7, and diversity based on relative coverage (H'c) was 1.1. Evenness based on abundance (J'n) was nearly .8, and evenness based on relative coverage (J' c) was .5. Approximately 6% of all colonies surveyed were observed under the shelter of ledges or overhangs. An average of 2% of colonies were observed to be recently injured in the Winter, compared with 6% in the Summer. Twenty-nine species of scleractinian corals were observed, 26 of which were present in sample areas. Montastrea cavernosa dominated stony coral coverage, and Siderastrea spp. and M. cavernosa were the most abundant.

Mooring buoys appear to be an effective management tool for minimizing damage to corals on Pompano Ledge. The percentage of corals that had been recently injured was lower in the buoyed site (p = .082) even though the buoyed site was more heavily visited by both boats and divers . Future studies will be able to further assess buoy impacts by noting any changes in coral population parameters. The buoys have only been in place two years, so it will be interesting to see if the coral communities of the two sites begin to diverge in the future .



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