Title

Coral Diversity and Percent Algal Cover on Inshore vs. Offshore Patch Reefs With and Without Herbivorous Crabs

Description/Abstract

Coral reefs are the most diverse marine community and are very susceptible to changing environmental conditions. The Florida Keys reef tract has been facing environmental stressors causing degradation of the coral. One of the main stressors on these coral reefs is algae covering the coral. In this experiment we are analyzing the coral diversity, coral abundance, and percent algal cover on 32 coral patch reef sites, 16 inshore and 16 offshore, in the lower Florida Keys. Our experiment focused on testing the ability of the herbivorous crab Maguimithrax spinosissimus to maintain low algal cover on the out planted coral patch reefs. The proposed research is part of a larger project being conducted by Dr. Mark Butler and his laboratory examining the effects of M. spinosissimus on coral restoration. 10 random benthic photos were taken using a photo quadrat, these photographs will be analyzed using the Coral Point Count (CPC) program. This program will allow us to identify and count the various out planted and naturally occurring corals on each patch reef within each photo quadrat using a set of codes. The overall analysis will allow us to provide support or disprove the hypothesis that herbivorous crabs are having a positive effect on coral restoration.

Presenting Author Name/s

Adrian Marchi, Mary Williams, Tiffany Wood

Faculty Advisor

Mark Butler

Presentation Type

Poster

Disciplines

Life Sciences | Marine Biology

Session Title

Poster Session

Location

Learning Commons, Atrium

Start Date

2-8-2020 8:00 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 12:30 PM

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Feb 8th, 8:00 AM Feb 8th, 12:30 PM

Coral Diversity and Percent Algal Cover on Inshore vs. Offshore Patch Reefs With and Without Herbivorous Crabs

Learning Commons, Atrium

Coral reefs are the most diverse marine community and are very susceptible to changing environmental conditions. The Florida Keys reef tract has been facing environmental stressors causing degradation of the coral. One of the main stressors on these coral reefs is algae covering the coral. In this experiment we are analyzing the coral diversity, coral abundance, and percent algal cover on 32 coral patch reef sites, 16 inshore and 16 offshore, in the lower Florida Keys. Our experiment focused on testing the ability of the herbivorous crab Maguimithrax spinosissimus to maintain low algal cover on the out planted coral patch reefs. The proposed research is part of a larger project being conducted by Dr. Mark Butler and his laboratory examining the effects of M. spinosissimus on coral restoration. 10 random benthic photos were taken using a photo quadrat, these photographs will be analyzed using the Coral Point Count (CPC) program. This program will allow us to identify and count the various out planted and naturally occurring corals on each patch reef within each photo quadrat using a set of codes. The overall analysis will allow us to provide support or disprove the hypothesis that herbivorous crabs are having a positive effect on coral restoration.