Joseph M. Smoak, Ph.D.
Co-Major Professor: Richard Z. Poore, Ph.D.
Committee Member: Kathleen Carvalho-Knighton, Ph.D.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Study on 3 coral species, Montastraea faveolata, Diploria strigosa, and Siderastrea siderea was done to determine the trends in coral linear extension and the impact of sea-surface temperature (SST) and other environmental parameters on a shallow reef system from Dry Tortugas National Park. The extension rates were species-specific. Montastraea faveolata had the highest average linear extension and variability (0.84±0.14 (n=165)), followed by D. strigosa (0.73±0.06 (n=54)) and S. siderea (0.42±0.06 (n=183)) respectively. Two cores of M. faveolata had significant correlation with each other (r=0.34, df=67, P=0.0043) and similar long-term patterns although one of them had a higher average linear extension than other. There was no significant correlation between the two D. strigosa cores (r=-0.10, df=33, P=0.5676); one of them was affected by hyperplasia tumor. Siderastrea siderea PS-A1 core had an overall increasing trend (r=0.64, df=117, P<0.0001) in the extension rates and M. faveolata PS-B3 had a decreasing trend (r=-0.22, df=117, P=0.0162). None of the other three cores showed any clear overall trend in the extension rates. Siderastrea siderea PS-A1 was correlated significantly with annual SST (r=0.43, df=115, P<0.0001) and warmest month SST (r=0.56, df=115, P<0.0001). Since correlations between the extension rates and SST were positive it suggests that the increase in SST had no negative effect on this species. Siderastrea siderea PS-A1 (r=0.73, df=87, P<0.0001) and M. faveolata PS-C2 (r=0.32, df=64, P=0.0091) had significant correlations with the sea-level anomaly. Siderastrea siderea PS-A1 correlated significantly (r=0.43, df=56, P=0.0008) with Multivariate El vi Nino Southern Oscillation Index. There was no significant correlation of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation anomaly with any of the cores.
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Muslic, Adis, "Trends in Linear Extension Rates for over 100-Year Period in Three Coral Species from Dry Tortugas, Florida" (2012). USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate). 43.