Publication Date

2013-01-13

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2015-01-31

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense

2012-08-10

First Committee Member

Maria L. Estevanez

Second Committee Member

R. Pamela Reid

Third Committee Member

David Letson

Fourth Committee Member

Brooke E. Gintert

Abstract

Traditional coral reef monitoring protocols may be underestimating mortality and recovery dynamics on coral reefs. The primary target of these protocols, Scleractinian corals, represents an increasingly smaller portion of the coral reef community in Florida. Underwater landscape mosaics and ArcGIS were used to document and assess five years of benthic change on an inshore patch reef. In January 2010, a cold water anomaly caused wide spread mortality on the Florida reef tract. Underwater landscape mosaics were used to map and assess the extent of mortality in 2010, to examine the influence of previous bleaching as a predisposing factor, and document recovery after this catastrophic event. This study documents the importance of comprehensive monitoring of benthic communities and will discuss the advantages to using underwater landscape mosaics detect change on coral reefs. Additionally, this study evaluates the usefulness of underwater landscape mosaics as a management tool to improve and reduce the expense of coral reef monitoring. Underwater landscape mosaicking was the most cost efficient of the six methods tested, due to low cost, effective use of time, and collection of high resolution data that captures the same reef health metrics of all the other protocols combined.

Keywords

Underwater landscape mosaics; Coral reef monitoring; Cold water mortality on coral reefs; Cost-efficiency analysis of coral reef monitoring; Coral reef recovery; Gorgonian bleaching

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