Coral reef communities are affected by global stressors such as temperature rise, in combination with local anthropogenic stressors like excess sedimentation. Excess sediment deposition due to dredging projects may affect the reproduction cycle of the coral communities near the Port of Miami, and Port Everglades in Florida, USA. This project used a model to consider the effects that dredging-induced sediment deposition has on coral communities specifically in gamete bundling coral species. By using observed suspended sediment concentration data from the Port of Miami, the model was used to predict if egg-sperm bundles (bundles of sperm and eggs mixed together) would sink or ascend in the water column. Coral egg-sperm bundles generally float, but can become obstructed by suspended sediments, impairing their likelihood of successful fertilization. Five species of corals were modeled that resided in coral communities near the two ports. The results in this report illustrate a need for an environmental window (or seasonal prohibition of dredging) to be enacted to protect coral communities during their spawning dates. Suggestions for future projects and research include investigating the effects of excess sediment deposition post-fertilization, as well as a comparative study of the effects on non-bundling coral species and the impacts that sediment deposition have on their reproduction cycle.
Lim, Joshua Blake, "Modeling sedimentation impacts on coral spawning" (2017). Internship Reports (Restricted). 302.
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