HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. Oceanography/Marine Biology

First Advisor

Samuel Purkis

Second Advisor

Bernhard Riegl

Third Advisor

Richard Dodge

Fourth Advisor

Peter Burgess


This dissertation explores the influence of the environment on the lateral spatial patterning of facies in modern isolated carbonate platforms through six studies. The first study describes the creation of a database of benthic habitat and bathymetric maps derived from multispectral satellite imagery and the field data used calibrate and validate the mapping algorithms. The second study develops and assesses a new approach for remotely-deriving water depth from multispectral satellite imagery without the need for ground-truth information. The third study identifies a criterion for distinguishing between facies belts and mosaics and deploys the criterion to investigate the co-occurrence of these arrangements within modern carbonate depositional systems. The fourth study explores the geologic history of an isolated carbonate platform in the Bahamas, Cay Sal Bank, to understand why the lateral spatial pattering observed in this site differs from the patterns observed in neighboring platforms. The fifth study explores the distribution of carbonate facies in relation to wave energy and water depth for two detached ramps in the Red Sea, Ras Al-Qisbah and Al Wajh. The last study investigates the recovery of scleractinian communities along the coasts of two islands in the Galapagos archipelago, Darwin and Wennman (Wolf) Islands, following a large-scale disturbance in the 1980s. Together, these six studies provide new insight into the spatial patterning of facies within modern carbonate depositional systems and the influence of the environment on the observed arrangements.

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