Independent Research: Benjamin E.R. Foxman (University of Colorado, Boulder)

benfoxAn ecological description of competition between corals and other aggressive colonial invertebrates.

Abstract: Reef ecosystems have three levels of processes organization: macroscale, mesoscale, and microscale. These processes are related to intra/interspecific competition amongst various corals and aggressive invertebrate species. Surveys have been conducted throughout the Caribbean on coral-aggressive invertebrate species distribution and abundance. Previous studies have analyzed quadrats taken at depths ranging from 10-120ft, revealing that an encrusting gorgonian (Erythropodium caribaeorum) was the most frequent aggressor at 10ft. This research project will be analyzing the quantitative and qualitative data of the distribution and abundance of coral-aggressive invertebrate competition at the “Yellow Sub” and “Something Special” dive sites along the west coast of Bonaire. Through transect measurements, photography and qualitative data analysis, conclusions will be drawn as a baseline for future scientific marine research, potentially on growth rate of competing species and the underlying mechanisms responsible for the species’ ecological description.

Which invertebrate will rule the reef? Ben will present his work during a public lecture on April 29, 18:30 – 21:00 at CIEE Research Station Bonaire.

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