PEPC and Parkplanning will be offline Monday, May 20th, from 8 PM to midnight MT, and Tuesday, May 21st, from 8 PM to midnight MT for network maintenance.

Coral Substrate bioerosional variation in Florida Keys patch reefs

Biscayne National Park » Coral Substrate bioerosional variation in Florida Keys patch reefs » Document List

Reefs are three-dimensional structures built up from the calcium carbonate skeletons of marine organisms. The complex geomorphic structure of a reef provides critical ecosystem services1 such as facilitating marine biodiversity and protecting coastlines from storms and erosion.2 With reefs threatened by numerous hazards, it is critical to understand the three processes that control the development and stability of their three-dimensional structure: (1) new skeletal production; (2) substrate bioerosion; and (3) subsequent sediment transport.1 My study seeks to better understand how patterns of bioerosion are influenced by ecological and environmental conditions, and how these factors control reef morphology.1
The significance of bioerosion to reef processes in the modern and geologic record has been well documented.1, 3, 4 Bioerosion is a vital process controlling the stability of the entire vertical expanse of a reef. It plays an important role in: sediment production;3 CaCO3 redistribution;3 topographic relief;4 and ecological biodiversity. Recent studies have suggested that high rates of bioerosion brought on by environmental disturbances can dramatically induce rapid destruction of reef structure.4 Thus, determining the rate of bioerosion is essential to predicting how reef structures will respond to ecological and environmental changes. Bioerosional rates vary with light availability, nutrient input, reef facies,3 and bioeroder successional sequences.3, 5 Many of these parameters are dependent on the depth below sea-level because coral reefs display a characteristic species zonation along the depth profiles on which they develop. But are bioerosional patterns homogeneous at similar depth intervals? One of the shallowest morphologies of coral reefs are patch reefs. With more than 4,000 patch reefs in the northern Florida Keys, Biscayne National Park is an ideal location to study reef bioerosion variability at the shallow depths of a reefs vertical range. Therefore, this study will examine how bioerosional density patterns vary in single patch reefs, and with neighboring patch reefs. We anticipate this study will provide data needed to continue studies of bioerosional variations with depth.

Contact Information

Mr. David Weinstein
University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149