HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Biological Sciences

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Brian Walker

Second Advisor

David Kerstetter

Third Advisor

Manoj Shivlani


Coral reefs are an important resource world-wide. Unfortunately, coral reef conditions are declining in many areas due to both global and local stressors. The objective of this study was to survey stakeholders in southeast Florida to better understand reef use in the region. Stakeholders spatially identified where and how often they conducted their activities. These data were compiled and analyzed in GIS to determine spatial use patterns. Both location and intensity of use were analyzed to determine which areas may be under greater stress from recreational activities. It was found that reef use was not evenly distributed in the region but clustered around inlets and piers. Reef use differed between user groups (i.e. SCUBA divers, fishers) and demographics. It was also found that use in the Broward-Miami Coral Reef Ecosystem Region was spread out over a wider spatial scale than the use in the regions north and south..

These data are important as they have the potential to inform the recommendations being made to improve coral reef management in southeast Florida. The study can provide a better understanding of human-environmental relationships and the trade-offs involved so that recommendations can better decrease user conflicts, maximize economic productivity, and preserve the environment.

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