Patterns of association and interactions between juvenile corals and macroalgae in the Caribbean

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Shauna N. Slingsby (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/

Abstract: Caribbean coral reefs have shifted from coral to macroalgal dominated communities within the past two decades. Macroalgae have been shown to affect adult coral colonies by five mechanisms: tissue encroachment, overshading, physical abrasion, reduced water flow, and allelochemicals. It has been suspected that macroalgae may interfere with juvenile coral growth and survivorship. The patterns of association between juvenile corals and macroalgae were investigated and a manipulative experiment was conducted to test the effects of particular functional forms of macroalgae on juvenile coral fitness. Results indicated there may be a functional relationship between the density of newly settled corals and macroalgal percent cover and height in the Caribbean. Nutrient concentrations were negatively correlated to macroalgal abundance and juvenile coral density. The experimental results indicated that juvenile coral taxa had species-specific responses to interactions with macroalgae but that different functional forms of macroalgae did not have significantly different effects on juvenile coral growth. It was concluded that the abundance and fitness of juvenile corals are compromised in coral reef communities with prolific macroalgae.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Algae--Caribbean Area, Algology--Caribbean Area, Coral reef ecology--Caribbean Area, Coral reefs and islands--Caribbean
Subjects
Coral reef ecology -- Caribbean Area
Coral reefs and islands -- Caribbean
Algae -- Caribbean Area
Algology -- Caribbean Area
Coral reef ecology -- Caribbean Area