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Spatial Distribution of Benthic Habitats and Ecological Patterns of the Mustard Hill Coral (Porites astreoides) in the Nearshore Waters of Grenada

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Title: Spatial Distribution of Benthic Habitats and Ecological Patterns of the Mustard Hill Coral (Porites astreoides) in the Nearshore Waters of Grenada
Author: Eagleson, Ryan
Department: Department of Pathobiology
Program: Pathobiology
Advisor: Lumsden, John
Abstract: The objectives of this research were: 1) create a benthic map of the Sandy Island-Oyster Bed MPA (SIOBMPA); and 2) study populations of Porites astreoides (pa) in the Caribbean/Grenada. A benthic map was created using 127 truthing points and eCognition software. Mapped habitats in the SIOBMPA were: dense seagrass (25.74%); sand (23.32%); coral framework (5.88%); and others. Compiled survey data in the Caribbean revealed regional success of pa. Temporal changes in size, abundance and coverage and the relationship between benthic components, MPAs, and river outflows on pa coverage in Grenada was assessed. The abundance of pa fell (p<0.05), and colony size/coverage increased (p<0.05). Coverage of pa was negatively correlated with MPA status, rubble, sand, macroalgae, gorgonians, and weedy corals and positively with pavement, coralline algae, and stress-tolerant/generalist corals. This study for the first time has documented the distribution of benthic habitats in the SIOBMPA and population dynamics of pa.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16132
Date: 2019-05
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