2009 (34) Coral connectivity between deep and shallow sites in the Florida Reef Tract

Biscayne National Park » 2009 (34) Coral connectivity between deep and shallow sites in the Florida Reef Tract » Document List

This project aims at quantifying the connectivity of coral populations at deep (>25m), mid (15-20m) and shallow (<10m) sites in the Florida Reef Tract. It will use new and established population genetic markers (DNA microsatellites) in four important scleractinian reef coral species with diverse life-history reproductive strategies (Montastraea faveolata, M. cavernosa, Porites astreoides and Agaricia agaricites) found over a wide depth range in this area, to estimate gene flow and symbiont (zooxanthellae) diversity between different reefs and depths. This proposal thus requests the non-destructive sampling (of small polyp biopsies using a syringe technique) of 20 individuals per species at each of two depths in four reef sites within Biscayne National Park (BNP)- Fowey Rocks, Triumph reef, Ajax reef, and Pacific/Elkhorn reefs. For collections deeper than those within the boundaries of BNP (>18m), appropriate sampling permits will be required from the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). Overall, this approach is expected to allow the assessment of the extent to which deep reef sites might serve as sources of local recruitment for nearby shallow sites that are affected by extreme events, such as coral bleaching. This study has potential downstream relevance to a variety of coral reef conservation applications, will contribute to inform a management strategy to help protect Florida's critical reef resources, and also aid in determining ecologically effective sizing and placement of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Contact Information

Ms Xaymara Serrano
University of Miami, RSMAS
4600 rickemnbacker Causeway
Miami, florida, 33149