- Restrictions on Access:
- Open Access.
- Reef building corals are the foundational species for coral reefs, with their calcium carbonate skeletons forming the structure of the local ecosystem. The reef building coral, Porites lobata grows on offshore reefs and inner bay patch reefs in Palau; two habitats that differ in local pH conditions and aragonite saturation. Low aragonite saturation state is known to cause weaker P. lobata skeleton that may be more prone to fragmentation. It is suspected that these differences would make P. lobata growing inner bays susceptible to bioerosion by skeleton-boring mussels, and therefore experience increased clonal fragmentation than on offshore reefs. To determine if this was the case, two inner bay patch reefs and two offshore reefs, were analyzed for differences in mussel boring density and genotypic diversity of the coral Porites lobata. While there was an increased density of mussels found in inner bay reefs, there was not a significant difference in asexual reproduction between offshore and inner bay reefs. Both habitats had mostly or solely sexual reproduction despite the differences in aragonite saturation state and mussel density. This suggests a different set of interactions between P. lobata in Palau and other members of the reef ecosystem than previously documented in the Eastern Pacific where mussel-hunting triggerfish caused fragmentation of P. lobata colonies and increased coral clonal reproduction. Indeed, the mussel-hunting triggerfish is absent in Palau. This study provides evidence for the importance of biotic interactions in determining population structure of a major reef-building coral in the Pacific.
- Dissertation Note:
- B.S. Pennsylvania State University 2018.
- Technical Details:
- The full text of the dissertation is available as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file ; Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view the file.
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