Term of Award

Spring 1998

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Stephen P. Vives

Committee Member 1

Sophie George

Committee Member 2

C. Ray Chandler

Abstract

Invertebrate colonization of bare substrate was studied by placing rocks of similar composition to surrounding live-bottom outcrops on or near Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Colonization was measured over the course of one year. In one comparison, quarried rocks were placed on sand-bottom and hard-bottom areas to evaluate the effect of adjacent substrate type on community development. In a second comparison, quarried rocks were placed in open and in caged enclosures to examine the effect of grazing on colonization patterns. Bryozoans were dominant colonizers in all treatment types throughout the year. The highest species diversity was observed in the caged enclosures and the lowest on rocks placed above sand-bottom areas. There were significant differences among taxa in mean percent coverage between the open and caged enclosures, with open enclosures having higher coverage. Likewise, there were significant differences among taxa in mean percent cover between rocks placed on sand-bottom versus hardbottom, with hard-bottom having higher coverage. Patterns of recruitment affected by seasonal changes for selected taxa will be discussed.

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